European chief Prosecutor Laura Kovesi arrives on a visit to Bulgaria on Thursday, the press office of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) confirmed.
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office began work on June 1. Twenty-two EU member countries participate in the enhanced cooperation. Bulgaria is he first country, which Kovesi is visiting. Bulgaria is represented on the EPPO Colleges by European prosecutor Teodora Georgieva (elected last July) and another four delegated prosecutors.
On Thursday afternoon, she met first with caretaker Justice Minister Yanaki Stoilov and his team, the Justice Ministry reported. During the meeting, Kovesi said that it is very important that Bulgaria meets the high requirements and fill its quota of delegated prosecutors as soon as possible. She also underscored that Bulgaria’s prosecuting magistracy is obliged to elect ten persons, and that is not subject to discussion.
In early February the Prosecutor’s College of the Supreme Judicial Council elected ten candidates for European delegated prosecutors. Of these only four were elected: Dimiter Belichev, Boyko Kalfin, Svetlana Shopova and Veronika Trifonova. Kovesi requested from Bulgaria to fill in the quota but the College suspended the ongoing election procedure as none of the remaining six candidates received six or more votes as is the rule.
During Thursday’s meeting with Kovesi, Minister Stoilov said that he had informed the Supreme Judicial Council of the expectations to elect six more European delegated prosecutors.
Kovesi and Stoilov also discussed the topic of specialized justice. According to Kovesi, the matter is under discussion in the EU, and there is no universal model to it. In her opinion, it is a political question that depends on the vision of every individual justice minister. In her words, investigations against high-ranking officials must be concluded quickly, which would be beneficial to themselves, the prosecuting magistracy and the public.
Minister Stoilov expressed readiness for cooperation with the EU prosecution service.
Later, Kovesi met with Bulgaria’s Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev, his press office reported.
The meeting was attended by Geshev’s deputies Daniela Masheva, Krassimira Filipova, Dessislava Pironeva and Prosecutor Kamen Mihov of the Supreme Court of Cassation’s department dealing with EU funding fraud and cooperation with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, represented at the meeting by Bulgarian representative Teodora Georgieva, head of Kovesi’s cabinet Milan Yaron and her spokesperson Tine Hollevoet, the release reads.
On Friday, Kovesi will give a press conference at Sofia’s House of Europe.