Today, the Anti-Corruption Fund (ACF) presents the web platform EUmoney.bg, which allows citizens to leave comments and anonymous tip-offs regarding violations and corruption on all active EU projects in Bulgaria.
“EU funds are a major share of public expenditure in our country. However, until today, Bulgarian citizens had no way of sharing their opinions on what happens with these funds. They had no opportunity to flag the irregularities they have witnessed,” says Ognyan Georgiev, one of the website creators. “The idea of EUmoney.bg is to empower everyone with information about legal violations or corruption to share that information in a very easy way.”
EUmoney.bg contains easily accessible information about every active project in Bulgaria financed with EU funds. The projects can be searched for by title, location, beneficiary/executor, keyword and other criteria.
The main function of the website, however, is different: to act as a tool for providing feedback on the way EU funds are invested.
Citizens will be able to leave comments on the execution of all the projects, as well as to submit anonymous tip-offs about violations or corrupt practices. The comments will be visible to everyone and can serve as an indicator of whether a project is being implemented correctly.
At the same time, the tip-offs will be sent to the Anti-Corruption Fund, which will examine them and take further action, whenever necessary. The ACF experts will refer the cases of potential violations to the competent institutions in Bulgaria and at EU level.
“The website has been active for several weeks and we have already received several tip-offs that we have duly examined. In one of the cases there were sufficient grounds to refer it to the relevant institutions,” says Lora Georgieva, legal expert at the Anti-Corruption Fund.
It is a case of alleged election fraud and other violations involving EU funds in the village of Valnari, Nikola Kozlevo Municipality. The tip-off, received through EUmoney.bg, contains claims that the Mayor of Nikola Kozlevo pressured several employees in his private company into voting for a particular candidate at the April 2021 parliamentary election. The employees were hired in the mayor’s shops under a project titled “Creating sustainable jobs for unemployed and inactive persons in Eshrefoglu OOD,” financed by the European Social Fund – Human Resource Development Programme. More information on the case can be found in the journalistic investigation authored by Genka Shikerova and published in Radio Free Europe Bulgaria.
ACF’s experts have referred the case to the national unit coordinating with OLAF, i.e., the Protection of EU’s Financial Interests Directorate at the Ministry of Interior, as well as to the Minister of Interior and the Prosecutor’s Office.
“Mechanisms like EUmoney.bg allow the Bulgarian public to closely monitor the expenditure of funds obtained through EU projects in the country. We hope that the tip-offs we receive through the platform will be met with appropriate reaction from the competent institutions, which will help protect the interest of the Bulgarian and EU taxpayers,” comments Boyko Stankushev, Director of the Anti-Corruption Fund.
The EUmoney.bg team will present the website today, 16 September 2021, at 11:00am, at SOHO, located at 4 Iskar St.
You can watch the live stream on the Anti-Corruption Fund’s Facebook channel here:
EUmoney,bg is financed with EU funds under a project implemented by the Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation and co-financed by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy at the European Commission.
The opinions published on the website reflect the views of their authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the European Commission and/or the Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation. The European Commission is not responsible for the manner in which the information on the website is used.