Czech republic: no more EU funds for Babiš

The EU Commission has announced that it is suspending all subsidies to the Agrofert conglomerate, which formerly belonged to Andrej Babiš, due to a conflict of interest. It has concluded that via the company he has profited from EU subsidies allocated by the government of which he is head. But Czech papers doubt the decision will prompt Babiš to give up any power.

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Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Prime minister's supporters will stand by him

Although the Czech republic's entire image is suffering under Prime Minister Babiš this will have little effect on his popularity, Hospodářské noviny complains:

“So far Babiš's team has always managed to cast the prime minister as the victim. And it will go on doing this even though this time it won't be so easy. After all the EU is deeply unpopular among Babiš's voters. Nasty Brussels, they'll say, is punishing Babiš for defending the national interest. On a social network someone wrote: 'The nation will be willing to pay the Agrofert subsidies and Babiš's approval ratings will rise to 65 percent.”

Echo24 (CZ) /

Business or politics

Babiš must decide between business and politics, stresses Echo.24:

“The EU institutions must ensure that in the allocation of subsidies the rules are adhered to. And ban subsidies for persons with executive powers. ... The accusation of committing fraud with EU subsidies puts the prime minister's personal freedom at risk. The suspension of the subsidies, on the other hand, would endanger Agrofert's economic basis. One alternative for Babiš would be to withdraw from the government and continue receiving subsidies. Babiš would never do that because he knows all too well that he would lose control over all his interests. He's fighting with his back to the wall. At times like these people like him are capable of doing wild and dangerous things. We're in for a dramatic next few months.”