The delegation from the LIBE Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group, on a mission monitoring the rule of law in Bulgaria, was not satisfied with its meeting with Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev, Dutch MEP and leader of the delegation Sophia in ‘t Veld (Renew Europe) said on Friday.
“I don’t think we got all the answers from Geshev we were looking for. Many of the questions we asked were related to the lack of activity and the lack of ongoing investigations,” she added.
MEPs asked Geshev about the investigation into the famous photo from the bedroom of former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, which shows bundles of banknotes and gold bars.
“We received an answer: I do not know where this case is in terms of proceeding,” said the Dutch MEP, noting that Geshev is expected to know at what stage the case is.
She added that they left the meeting feeling that not all their questions have been answered and that the situation becomes very worrying when the prosecution office’s inertia is combined with the uncontrolled power to close files. However, the prosecutor general claims that nothing in the institutions is in his power.
On paper, everything looks good in this country. But seeing the gap between the paper and reality, the European Commission is apparently sketchily carrying out its inspections and needs to strengthen them, in ’t Veld also said.
MEPs also discussed the police violence during the anti-government protests last summer. “Many of the people we talked with were horrified, ashamed and angry with police violence. But there are no follow-up actions – investigating, bringing charges and convicting the perpetrators, “said Sophie in ‘t Veld.
“Police violence during anti-corruption protests shows that reforms are urgently needed,” she added.
MEPs were also asked if they believed in the Reporters Without Borders freedom of press ranking, in which Bulgaria ranked 112th, the worst position in the EU, saying the ranking was reliable.
“Journalism has been systematically killed in Bulgaria in the last 10 years,” Elena Yoncheva (S&D, Bulgaria) said. “There is a systemic problem with corruption and something needs to be done,” Yoncheva added. She added that the Parliament’s mission is not to investigate, but to provoke debate.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)