The European Commission has unveiled plans [sk] for priorities in funding Slovakia during the years of 2014-2020. The general principle will remain the same, with the money of European taxpayers being used for projects compatible with the aims of the central bureaucracy.
One of the problems with the EU funding is that the money is often used for unnecessary and unproductive initiatives and projects.
For example, if a village needs to repair a sidewalk and would like to use Euro-funds for it, it is necessary to find a supporting story. Let's say, the development of regional tourism. It means that, in addition to sidewalk repairs, it will also be necessary to spend the EU money on a few signs with a map of the village's few streets – which in fact no one really needs. If the villagers are smart enough, they can, for example, also use the Euro-funds to renovate an old library: all they have to do is rename it to the Tourist Information Center and store some leaflets there, in case some tourists actually do show up.
To get the money, it is necessary to understand and fill out the appropriate documents. Or, it is possible to pay a specialized company, which will deal with the paperwork itself.
In 2004-2010, Slovakia spent [sk] 90 euro-cents per each received euro on its Euro-funds projects (receiving 6.5 billion euro, paying 3.9 billion to the EU, and spending 2 billion on co-financed projects). In 2011, Slovakia paid 576.3 million euro to the EU – and received 1.79 billion euro in EU funding.
From the 27,000 planned projects, about 16,500 were rejected; the related losses have been approximately 600 million euros [sk].
Another problem is deformation of entrepreneurial environment. When one company receives funds to build, say, a farm hotel, its neighbors with the same business plan usually receive nothing.
Martin Barto, former vice-governor of the Slovak National Bank, said this [sk] about the EU funding:
I see Euro-funds as a strategy for the hard core of the European Union to buy politicians in the new member states in order to continue integration in accordance with these groups’ concepts.
Below is a selection of Slovak netizens’ comments [sk] on the issue.
so many subsidies and redistribution according to dubious rules, this will not turn out well. somewhere we will take, somewhere pour more, we will tax everyone more and then we will grant exceptions to big companies, this system is called “somehow was, somehow will be” and that way it will end.
They will take [tax money] from functional firms and employees, assign the money to friends [in accordance with corrupt rules] [...]. The best way out for the European Commission would be to immediately abolish the EU funding and make every country reduce taxes by the amount they contributed to the EU funding.
give, give, give, and we here will pretty steal everything…
And who will give money to Brussels? Really, is there anyone who still believes that money is falling from the sky? We will pay everything, not once, but with interest.
Capable governments of the EU countries should work without EU funds and any subsidies [...] At least there would be no excuse for anyone and the blackmailing potential of these funds would be zero.
And here are a few more views [sk]:
EU funds are just an instrument of transferring the money to private companies without getting the people to complain that private companies are supported from the state budget.
It is not useless to realize that the EU funds come from the taxes collected by the states, which are initially sent to Brussels and then they come as Euro-funds, from which it is already legal to support private companies. While Brussels prohibits direct support of private firms from the state budget, it already supports them with the EU funds.
[...] from 90 cents posted to Brussels we will get back 1 euro, the gain will be lost in corruption, inefficient investment and so on. If this money were put on deposit, then we'd have better returns, and the best returns would be if the money stayed in the economy and it alone would say where the bucks are needed.