By Krassen Nikolov
Bulgarian MEP Emil Radev (EPP/GERB) announced he doesn’t want to be nominated as the country’s Chief Prosecutor. In recent months Radev’s name was unofficially mentioned as one of the possible candidates for the highest position in the Bulgarian prosecution. Radev made this clear speaking about his priorities as a re-elected MEP, at a debate in Sofia in which other Bulgarian MEPs also took part.
Currently the Chief Prosecutor is the only untouchable figure in the Bulgarian state apparatus. The enormous power of this position is combined with a complete lack of public control and accountability. For a democratic country in the 21st century, this is an anachronism. The Chief Prosecutor looks like a medieval Slavic tsar because he (there has never been a she) can destroy the reputation of every citizen and politician by opening an investigations. But the Prosecutor General de facto cannot be investigated.
“I have clearly stated that I will be working in the European Parliament, and this week I was elected Vice-Chairman of a very important committee – the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. My priorities are my work in the European Parliament and protecting the interests of Bulgaria”, Radev said.
Radev is the Bulgarian MEP at the highest position in the European Parliament: fourth vice-chair of a committee. None of the remaining 16 Bulgarian MEPs got a committee chair or a vice-chair position.
An MEP is much better paid than the Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor, who gets about €4500 per month.
The procedure for electing the new Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor was opened at the beginning of the week. It is scheduled to end in October and is monitored with interest by the European Commission. The mandate of the Bulgarian Prosecutor General is 7 years, non-renewable.
The Deputy Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev is unofficially pointed out like the most possible successor of the incumbent Sotir Tsatsarov. The latter has been promoting Geshev for the last two years. For Tsatsarov it is important that his protégé will have the position after him so that there will be no revanchism after the end of his mandate.
Geshev himself sayes he would not participate in “dirty wars”, indicating that he would run for the position only if it is guaranteed he will get it. Geshev cannot be described as an embodiment of the European values in the Bulgarian prosecution. He is rude in his comments, carries a revolver at all time and is trying to gain a nationalistic charisma.
During his previous mandate as MEP Radev strongly advocated for lifting the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). He also supported an “EU-wide rule-of-law mechanism”. In an effort to stop democratic backsliding, all EU countries will be subject to annual monitoring on the rule of law, the European commission announced on Wednesday. However, the current monitoring of Bulgaria and Romania will not be lifted.
Radev said in Sofia that he expected the new European Parliament legislature to be “much more difficult than the previous one”. “The support of three or four political families in the EP will be needed for adopting legislation and making decisions. So the Bulgarian position should be very clear, and obtaining the support in every political family will be key”, he added.