New enviro minister to tackle emissions scandal

Today President Ivan Gasparovic officially appointed Jozsef Nagy as the new minister of environment, after the Ministry was restored on 1 November. The Ministry of Environment was abolished on 1 July by the former government, when its jurisdiction was passed to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Nagy was nominated by coalition partner Most-Hid and used to work as state secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment, as it used to be called.

One of the first things Nagy wants to deal with in his new job is the scandal surrounding Slovakia’s CO2 emission quotas to ‘garage’ company Interblue Group at well under price. The contract and sale were executed under the former government and have been the subject of crony accusations ever since the affair came to light. “It is a highly complex problem and our legal department is currently analysing our options” said Nagy.

Nagy wants to get the EUR 15 million from Interblue Group that is owed to Slovakia as part of the green projects payback clause. He regards the contract as terminated now and will hand the matter over to the criminal authorities if some agreement is not reached. Although the ministry has had talks with the alleged successor of Interblue Group, the new company does not have everything in order and so the ministry does not classify it as the legal successor.

The affair started back in 2008 when Slovakia sold 15 million tons of emission quotas to Interblue Group for just EUR 75 million, which works out at EUR 5.05 a ton. The money gained was about half of what the market price for quotas was at the time.

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