Final Word from Monday, April 2, 2007

With privatization jackpots fewer and farther between, politicians and their helpers are looking to EU funding as the next - and perhaps last - really big thing. Everyone is trying to get in on the action. Some of Development Minister Jiří Čunek's recent troubles can be traced to this jostling for position, and now Tomáš Hruda has been sacked as CEO of CzechInvest. Industry Minister Martin Říman's decision on Fri. to remove Hruda will mainly be understood in the context of Říman's long-standing objections to investment incentives for foreign companies, but EU funds are the more immediate issue. Říman wants to take the EU-funding agenda away from CzechInvest and bring it directly under his ministry, and for this to go smoothly he needs his own people in place. This is another reason for an already suspicious Brussels to take a closer look at where its money is going.[Czech Republic European Union structural]


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