European Ombudsman: EC should publish Oettinger letter to Babiš in part

11-08-2019

The European Ombudsman has proposed that at least part of a letter from outgoing EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger to Czech PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) regarding an ongoing conflicts of interest probe be made public, Czech Radio reports.

Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly’s recommendation comes in reaction to a complaint filed by Czech opposition Senator Lukáš Wagenknecht (affiliated with the Pirate Party) about the EU Commission’s allegedly nontransparent approach in the case.

In May, O’Reilly opened an inquiry into whether EU authorities were withholding or delaying the release of information as regards the Babiš case, and if so, why.

In the letter she wants partly published, Oettinger allegedly explains to Babiš how he could free himself from conflicts of interest regarding subsidies to the Agrofert conglomerate he founded and was forced to place in a trust in 2017 under a new Czech law.

A spokesman for O’Reilly said the Ombudsman is expecting a response from the EU Commission regarding the by 20 September.