Bulgaria to Send More Data on Its Candidates for European Delegated Prosecutors at EPPO's Request

Bulgaria to Send More Data on Its Candidates for European Delegated Prosecutors at EPPO's Request

The Prosecutors' College of the Supreme Judicial Council Wednesday decided to send additional information to the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) about Bulgaria's candidates for European delegated prosecutors. The decision was prompted by a letter from European Chief Prosecutor Laura Kovesi requesting additional data on seven of the country's ten candidates.

On February 13, the Prosecutors' College elected ten European delegated prosecutors from Bulgaria to carry out investigations in this country on behalf of the European Public Prosecutor's Office. Last week, the EPPO's press centre told Bulgarian National Radio that the European Chief Prosecutor has sent a letter requesting more information about seven of them. According to an EURACTIV article dated March 4, the letter also contained remarks about these candidates and, in the words of a source from the EPPO, that was a clear sign that the EPPO is not satisfied with the seven nominations and is about to reject them.

According to a press release of the Prosecutors' College on the matter, Kovesi's letter contained only a request for additional information. It praised the timely implementation of Bulgaria's commitments in the process of selecting European delegated prosecutors, and noted that the procedure has not yet been finalized.

Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev commented that he sees no problem in the request for additional information in the course of an ongoing selection procedure.

During Wednesday's sitting of the Prosecutors' College, its members explained that the candidates they have approved are ultimately selected by the EPPO, and the request for additional information is part of the selection procedure. If the data is not enough for the corresponding candidates' appointment, an EPPO working group has the right to request extra information and subject these candidates to a hearing. Afterwards, all data are sent to the European Chief Prosecutor.

Prosecutors' College member Evgeni Ivanov commented that the whole selection procedure is above board. His colleague Kalina Chapkunova described the procedure as "completely objective and unbiased".

The additional information to be sent by the Prosecutors' College includes data on the regulatory framework of the Bulgarian judicial system and the magistrate's status, as well as extra information on the work of each of the candidates for European delegated prosecutors.

In its reply to Kovesi, the Prosecutors' College will also raise the question whether there are other regulatory requirements outside of the regulation on the selection of European delegated prosecutors and the letters exchanged on the topic, that the College is not familiar with.

The reply will also include a position of three investigators nominated for European delegated prosecutors in which they call discriminating the preliminary opinion that investigators cannot be delegated prosecutors or would find it difficult to carry out their tasks. The three investigators have requested, and the Prosecutors' College has partially agreed, that no additional information about them be sent to the EPPO.

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