The president of the European Parliament’s committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, this week met with the Bulgarian Minister of Justice, Nadezhda Yordanova.
They discussed together the rule of law crisis in Bulgaria over the last years. According to them, there are too many questions that need answers, especially now when the European Public Prosecutor’s Office confirms it has received reports from Bulgaria highlighting serious allegations of fraud concerning EU funds and systematic corruption involving top officials. Mr. López Aguilar and Minister Yordanova agreed there were too many cases that raise concerns in Bulgarian society and that undermine the belief of Bulgarian citizens in the achievements of democracy.
Juan Fernando López Aguilar, S&D MEP and chair of the European Parliament’s committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, said: “I trust the European Public Prosecutor’s Office will do its part of the job, but I also count on the Bulgarian judicial system. They have to complement each other in the best interests of our citizens. The European Parliament has been a vocal critic to what has been going on in Bulgaria for the last 10 years during the period Boyko Borissov was Prime Minister. Bulgarians count on an independent judiciary in their own country to cast a light on all of this in compliance with all procedural guarantees. This includes respect for judicial independence, due process of law, presumption of innocence, right to be informed, access to a lawyer and access to judicial remedies, enshrined by the EU Charter and EU Legislation. Mr. Borissov should be able to answer the questions of the investigating authorities and I hope he will collaborate with the investigations going on in Bulgaria.”
Petar Vitanov, S&D MEP and Head of the Bulgarian delegation in the S&D Group, said: “For many years, Boyko Borissov and his party GERB have been misleading Bulgarians. He and his party claim they have the unconditional support of the EU institutions and the European People’s Party. This led our country to disastrous consequences for the rule of law. I hear now that Mr. Borissov is complaining he is a victim of arbitrary arrest, but I see no ground for the statements he makes. We, Bulgarians, know very well what arbitrary arrests and justice mean and this was turned into practice under Mr. Borissov in office as Prime Minister. And our colleagues from the EPP turned a blind eye to this over the past 10 years. There is a lot to do to restore the trust of Bulgarians and our European partners in the rule of law in our country. Bulgaria is on the right track and we need more light on the years Boyko Borissov was in power.”