EU Chief Prosecutor Laura Kövesi visits the Ministry of Justice (pictures)
EU Chief Prosecutor Laura Kövesi on June 10 arrived in Bulgaria for a two-day visit. She is expected to meet with caretaker Justice Minister Yanaki Stoilov, Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev, the Prosecutorial College of the Supreme Judicial Council and the four Bulgarian magistrates approved as European delegated prosecutors.
Shortly after 5 pm, she arrived at the Ministry of Justice, where a protest was held against Bulgaria’s Prosecutor General.
Laura Kövesi will speak to the media tomorrow, and her programme is kept secret for security reasons.
The purpose of Laura Kövesi's visit to Bulgaria is to speed up the procedure for electing 6 new delegated prosecutors, after the European Prosecutor's Office approved only 4 out of 10 Bulgarian nominations. Due to security measures, Kövesi's programme was not announced. It is only stated that she will visit the office of the institution in Sofia and hold meetings with the Bulgarian authorities.
Later, it became clear that one of the meetings would be with the caretaker Minister of Justice. A few days ago, Kövesi had a brief meeting with Yanaki Stoilov, at which the vacancies for European delegated prosecutors were discussed.
"Yes, and it is expected that these issues will be resolved as soon as possible by Bulgaria with regard to the vacancies, and with regard to several countries that have not yet completed their procedures for nominating European prosecutors," Stoilov said.
The four approved delegated prosecutors are Dimitar Belichev, Boyko Kalfin, Svetlana Shopova and Veronika Trifonova. The other six, selected by the Prosecutorial College, were not approved. On June 1, when the European Prosecutor's Office officially started working, in an interview with BNT Laura Kövesi explained the reasons for the European Prosecutor's Office to reject six candidates from Bulgaria. In Brussels, she said the proposals did not meet the requirements.
"I understood that the procedure in the country was transparent, we do not comment on it. But based on internal rules, we have our own internal procedures. Let me give you just one example - we had candidates who have no experience as prosecutors, and this is the first condition of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - to have a long experience in the investigation of financial crimes," Kövesi explained then.
The European Public Prosecutor's Office has delegated prosecutors from 22 EU Member States. The institution has the power to conduct investigations concerning the EU budget. According to the Council of Europe, member states lose at least € 50 billion a year in VAT revenue due to cross-border fraud. European prosecutors are appointed for a non-renewable term of six years.