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Bulgarian media: Dutch Minister of Immigration was accused of corruption in Bulgaria

Bulgarian media recalls the fact that Dutch Minister of Immigration, Gerd Leers, was accused of influence peddling in 2010. He was involved in a scandal regarding the construction of a luxurious villa in Byala, on Black Sea shores. Leers resigned from his position as Maastricht mayor following the scandal. At that time he was mayor of Maastricht since 2002.

Leers invested more than 200,000 euro in the construction of a holiday home in Byala town, Varna region, in 2006. The construction was put on hold due to some administrative blockages. Leers turned first to Bulgarian judicial system, but failing to solve his problem, he tried to deal with this issue by personal meeting with Bulgarian ambassador in Hague and with local authorities in Byala. He paid with his position as mayor of Maastricht in early 2010 for these attempts of influence peddling. He was accused that he tried to derive advantage from his position in order to gain personal benefits.

However, as a “punishment”, he was “promoted” to a ministerial chair. From this position, Leers was the one who announced the Netherlands decision to block by veto Romania and Bulgaria accession to Schengen. The reasoning behind the decision is that the two countries didn’t make any significant progress against corruption and organized crime.

No more Dutch flowers

The number of flowers and plants trucks stopped at the Romanian border reached 20, as a result of merchandise blocking measures taken on September 16. The decisions were due to suspicions regarding the merchandise infestation with quarantine microorganisms, according to ANAF.

Twelve trucks were blocked at border, the merchandise of two others was confiscated and six other trucks were sent back to in the origin country due to the supplier’s decision, in September 16-21 time frame.

Three trucks were stopped at border for the last 24 hours representing merchandise from Netherlands and Hungary, according to ANAF representatives.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development informed European Commission, the Netherlands Embassy and Plant Health Treatment Service in the Netherlands on the decision to monitor intercommunity acquisitions of vegetal product from September 17, 2011.

“In the event that lab analysis results will show the presence of quarantine microorganisms, local Plant Health Treatment authorities will take one or more necessary measures. If test results will be negative, the merchandise will be allowed to be sold. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), through its National Agency for Plant Health Treatment will immediately inform their Dutch counterparts regarding the results”, says an MARD official statement.

Agriculture Minister, Valeriu Tabara, said that the lab analysis results regarding Dutch flowers will be ready on Wednesday afternoon.

“We hope to have the results as soon as possible. I wouldn’t be happy if we will find germs. We’re not doing this on purpose; it’s just a routine check to see if these products are infested. Everything started from a shipment that didn’t had a Plant Health Treatment certificate. This documents is absolutely necessary in the case of biologic materials”, said Valeriu Tabara.

Minister of Agriculture mentioned that is was normal for these measures to be taken considering that there are germs that should not get to our territory.

Tabara said also that over 150 big shipments were confiscated since early 2011 due to irregularities regarding “health of imported products or issues of tax evasion”.

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