By Georgi Gotev
On 26 April Vĕra Jourová, the EU Commissioner for justice, said on 26 April that the Juncker Commission will not lift the monitoring on Bulgaria under the so-called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). As the announcement came during the Orthodox Easter, it didn’t made big waves in Bulgaria then.
On 8 May the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on public television bTV that he thinks the monitoring will be lifted, and that Jourová was biased, as she is “from another political family”.
Borissov’s GERB party is affiliated to EPP, while Jourová is affiliated to the Czech ANO party, member of ALDE.
Borissov said that the real boss regarding the monitoring was First Vice President Frans Timmermans and that the prosecutor general Sotir Tsatsarov, who met with Timmermans on 15 April, had came back “with a few issues that need to be addressed”.
“Ms Jourová is from the liberals, our adversaries at the elections, DPS is with them (the Movement of Rights and Freedoms). Yes, but Timmermans, who is in charge of the monitoring, says something else.”
Asked by a journalist if in this case the hope that the monitoring is lifted is not dead, Borissov replied:
“Not at all. I’m convinced it will be lifted. I have no doubts.”
I learned about this interview by Borissov only today (I was in Central Asia last week). I sent an email to the chief of cabinet of Jourová, and one hour later, I got an answer from Jourová herself, which she wrote from her Ipad.
This is the answer:
“Dear Mr. Gotev,
thank you for giving me the chance to react.
The question was if till the end of the mandate of this Commission the CVM could be lifted. I gave an honest and realistic answer: due to the short time left (till the end of the Commission) and due to the several concrete CVM recommendations still to be implemented, the lifting of CVM is NOW improbable. There is no bias or party politics behind this statement. I was always actively supporting Bulgarian reforms and steps to make the judiciary system robust, independent and sustainable.