EU freezes millions in assistance to Bulgaria

Associated Press
The European Union has suspended almost €500 million (US$800 million) in assistance to Bulgaria because of alleged corruption and spending irregularities in the Balkan country.

The European Commission says the funds will not be paid out because Bulgaria has made little progress in reforming its judiciary and fighting organized crime and corruption in the 18 months since it joined the bloc.

It says spending irregularities are so serious, the accreditation of two government agencies disbursing EU funds will be canceled.

In comments made Wednesday, the commission also said Bulgaria has failed to convict fraudsters, one of the conditions on which it was admitted into the bloc in 2007.

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