By Krassen Nikolov
It may sounds absurd, but the name of the Romanian magistrate Laura Codruța Kövesi was involved in the campaign of the sole candidate for Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev, who is now deputy chief prosecutor. The European Parliament officially backed Kövesi to become the EU’s first-ever top prosecutor. After a hard competition she is finally considered to bethe favourite to lead the new European Public Prosecutor’s office. However key figures in Bulgaria’s political life presented to the public an alternative version of reality that only serves their interests.
“The fact that there is only one candidate for the post (of the Chief Prosecutor in Bulgaria) does not mean there will be no competition. Laura Kövesi too is the only candidate, but no one says there is no competition”, Ivan Geshev said in an interview for the public Bulgarian national television BNT.
Geshev is confident that the Supreme Judicial Council will back up his nomination and he will be the next prosecutor general. But he has to deal with image problems. The main one is that his candidacy has no alternative. The whole election procedure seems to be set in favor of circles that do not want real judicial reform in the country, including theincumbent chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov. This is why Geshev is trying to describe his situation as traditional for EU policy.
Prosecutor Geshev’s candidacy is publicly supported by the ethnic Turkish party DPS, which has three representatives in the European Parliament. They are part of the ALDE group. DPS Deputy Chairman Yordan Tsonev even repeated Geshev’s thesis about the Romanian prosecutor being the only candidate for the EU job.
“I will give you an example. It is said that he (Geshev) was the only candidate, that the procedure was one-horse race. What about Kövesi? Are there three of them? Why do they approve that? So there are double standards, ” Tsonev said in an interview for Nova TV.
A fact check by this site shows that the thesis of Ivan Geshev and Yordan Tsonev is false and serves only their political interests.
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) will be an independent and decentralised prosecution office of the European Union, with the competence to investigate, prosecute and bring to judgment crimes against the EU budget, such as fraud, corruption or serious cross-border VAT fraud. There are now 22 participating member states in the initiative. The European Chief Prosecutor is elected for a 7-year term as well as the Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor. The European Chief Prosecutor will be able to initiate investigations and, in certain cases, to order arresting suspects.
Initially, there were 30 candidates from many European countries. Kövesi was the first choice of the international board of specialists that carried out the selection process for the position of chief prosecutor of the EPPO. Then, the ambassadors of the 22 participating member states in the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER II) voted in favor of the Frenchman Jean-Francois Bohnert. Kövesi was ranked second. The German candidate Andres Ritter was third.
In the meantime, Kövesi was the target of powerful attacks by the Romanian ruling authorities. She was summoned to court and indicted, so that her hearing in Brussels would be suspended. The investigation was terminated later. Ivan Geshev does not have such hudles. He is supported by the government and the empire of the media mogul, millionaire and DPS MP Delyan Peevski.
Then the European Parliament voted for Kövesi and Bohnert was left second.
In mid-July, Dacian Cioloş (Romania), chairman of the Renew Europe Group, announced that the French government has decided to support Kövesi, not the Frenchman. Members of French President Emmanuel Macron’s party are in the Renew Europe Group. Nevertheless Frenchman Jean-Francois Bohnert said he would stay in the race.
The Bulgarian government initially voted against Kövesi. But after France supported her and she became the top favourite for the position, Bulgaria rethought its position.
So it is absolutely clear that even now Laura Codruța Kövesi is not the only candidate for the position. Moreover, she has never had the political and media comfort that Ivan Geshev enjoys.
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