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Czech PM accuses EU Parliament of trying to “influence our elections”

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Prague, Czech Republic – Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) has accused the European Parliament of trying to “influence our elections” after MEPs voted in favour of taking action against the Premier’s conflict of interest.

In a non-binding resolution adopted on Thursday, the EU Parliament has called on the European Commission and Council to take action to resolve the “now recognised conflict of interest of Czech Prime Minister Babis” and address growing “concerns on the rule of law breaches in Czechia.”

“Concerns on rule of law breaches” in the Czech Republic

The text was adopted by an overwhelming majority of 505 in favour and 30 against. Some 155 MEPs abstained, mostly from the ranks of ANO’s Renew Europe allies, as well as the far-right (ID) and national-conservative (ECR) parliamentary groupings.

Following an audit, whose final conclusions were released in April, the European Commission considers the billionaire Czech Premier to be in a situation of conflict of interest and still de-facto owner of Agrofert, the giant conglomerate he founded in the 1990s.

On Thursday, MEPs called on EU institutions to resolve this situation as quickly as possible, “either by ensuring Mr Babis no longer has any economic interest in the Agrofert group, or by not giving EU funding to his businesses.”

“All of the evidence we have at hand indicates there are serious, systemic problems for Czechia that urgently need to be dealt with,” warned the text’s rapporteur, German MEP Monika Hohlmeier.

Czech PM Babis accused EU Parliament of “lies and slander”

Commenting on the vote, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said the resolution amounted to “lies and slander against the Czech Republic and the Czech state”, accusing the EU Parliament of wanting to “influence our elections”.

The Czech Republic is holding its next parliamentary elections on October 5-6.

According to recent polls, the ruling ANO party of M. Babis, who on top of corruption allegations has faced strong criticism for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, is trailing at the second or third place in voting intentions.

The Czech PM has always denied any wrongdoing and claims the accusations of corruption are being manufactured by his political opponents.