Bulgaria's Agriculture Fund Dismisses CEO

Bulgaria in EU | October 8, 2010, Friday // 12:20|  views

Kalina Ilieva from the Bulgarian Agriculture Fund has been dismissed from her position as the CEO of the Fund. Photo by BGNES

The managing board of the Bulgarian State "Agriculture" Fund has dismissed its Director, Kalina Ilieva, after it was revealed she was pregnant and will have to go on maternity leave.

The Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, announced Thursday that the Deputy Director of the Fund, Svetoslav Simeonov, will temporarily take over the Fund, which is the Bulgarian payment agency for the EU SAPARD program.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, Bulgaria's PM Boyko Borisov and the Minister on EU Funds, Tomislav Donchev, have approved the reshuffling, which goal was to ensure the proper functioning of the institution in connection to "the forthcoming urgent tasks in the management of the EU funds."

When naming the temporary Director of the Fund, Naydenov explained that Simeonov's candidature was "without an alternative" because he was the only one, except Ilieva, whose signature has accreditation in Brussels. However, he did not mention the dismissal of the Director.

Last week Naydenov announced that Ilieva was on leave because of a serious disease. However, her father has refuted the minister's statement, announcing that the real reason for his daughter's leave was pregnancy.

Representatives of the Fund and the Agriculture Ministry have told the Bulgarian daily Dnevnik that regulations that prohibit dismissal during a sick or maternity leave could not be applied in this case because the position Director of the Fund was elective.

In the past few months, the tension surrounding the Fund and Ilieva herself has been accumulating. The parliamentary opposition has stated several times that there are serious problems in the institution, as well as a delay in the absorption of EU funds.

Naydenov has announced he had demanded detailed information about the Fund's activities.

"If there is a delay of their work, I will take serious measures," he said.

The Minister did, however, praise Ilieva as a "good professional" and pointed out the average absorption of funds under the EU operational programs in Bulgaria is 4% while the "Agriculture' Fund has absorbed 20%.

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Tags: Kalina Ilieva, SAPARD, Agriculture Fund, Agriculture Ministry, Miroslav Naydenov, Svetoslav Simeonov


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