EU Agriculture Funds: Favour Businessmen Linked to Politics and Crime than Farmers

The European Union is supporting Albania and North Macedonia in the agricultural sector through the IPARD Programme, with the aim of preparing the countries for membership in the union.

In 2018, the Agricultural and Rural Development Agency (ARDA) in Albania, was accredited for the IPARD II Programme, to distribute grants through a budget of 94.6 million euros, out of which 71 million euros were allocated by the European Commission and 23.6 million euros were allocated nationally by the Albanian state.

The third phase of the programme was anticipated to begin this year in Albania, however, the European Commission took an extreme measure as they decided to temporarily suspend the programme of agricultural support, based on suspicions of corruption in the distribution of grants, referred by the European anti-fraud office (OLAF).

When it comes to North Macedonia, the IPARD II had a budget of 80 million euros and up to May 2023, 49.2 million euros have been spent. Most of the remaining funds are already contracted, but are yet to be paid towards the beneficiaries due to various reasons.

In Albania and North Macedonia, farmers indicated that it is very difficult for them to apply to the program and their applications have not been accepted. Some of the large companies that have benefited have been identified because of their links to politics and crime. Although there are a few investigations into abuse of funds, intercepts on corruption issues indirectly show the involvement of state agencies in corruption schemes.

📷 Arlind Veshti - The project of the farmer Preng Doda for the winery in the village of Tene (Mirdite) Albania, remained a dream.


Long-standing and successful experience in project acquisition and management at local and regional level for most donor and development agencies operating in Albania.

Aleksandar Dimitrievski is an investigative journalist and deputy editor-in-chief of “360 stepeni”, a media company that publishes in-depth TV Show and a daily news portal in North Macedonia.

Arlind Veshti
  • Environment
  • Politics
POINT (19.818767337559 41.32835086847)