The misuse of EU funds by the latest member-countries is a long-debated topic in the European Union. Now, a brand new scandal lends further credibility to those demanding for stricter rules, heavier penalties and more control over the use of funds.
A foundation recently published a series of ridiculous videos in an attempt to prove it didn’t misuse 450 million HUF (1 million is approx. 3.3 thousand EUR) in non-repayable EU grants.
Harmadik Évezred Innovációs Alapítvány (Third Millennium Innovation Foundation), registered in Hajdú-Bihar country, applied for EU subsidies to improve the health of the population in less developed regions through the organization of sporting events. With an agreed upon budget of one million forints per occasion, it planned to arrange these events in 448 small underdeveloped towns.
The foundation allegedly managed to organize the events and uploaded videos and pictures of them on social media.
The foundation endeavored to prove the events took place and that the money was used legally. In an attempt to display the validity of the program, the videos show:
- Three people playing soccer in Fáj
- A few people riding bicycles and smoking cigarettes in Felsőgagy
- An annual village celebration deemed “also a sporting event” in Komádi
Those events cost one million forints each.
Ákos Hadházy, the independent Member of the Parliament who discovered the irregularities, told 444.hu he would be pressing charges against the foundation on a national and EU level.
The Minister of Human Capacities has already commented on the matter:
“In connection with the article published today about the Third Millennium Innovation Foundation, we would like to say that, as with all supported programs, it will be closely monitored and we will take action if there is any sign of abuse or irregularity.”
The foundation deleted all of its social media accounts after the case became known to the public. The Chair of the Board of Trustees of the foundation, a teacher and resident of Budapest, refused to make a statement about the case.