Last week the Prosecutorial College of the Supreme Judicial Council /SJC/ selected the ten Bulgarian delegated prosecutors, who will work within the newly designed European Prosecutor’s Office. Their task will be to conduct direct investigations of potential misuse of EU funds under the assignment of the central office of the Prosecutor’s Office in Luxembourg as their head will be Laura Kiovesi, the first elected European Chief Prosecutor. The final decision whether the proposed six prosecutors, three investigators and a judge selected by the Bulgarian institution will be appointed, is hers.
The last of these is answering also why the procedure did not produce the traditional tensions within specific political and economical circles showing unsound interests to the judicial system. Since this Saturday, when the members of the Prosecutorial College, led by the prosecutor general Ivan Geshev, took their decision, the situation turned to the traditional for our mentality direction - attempts to discredit part of the selected magistrates, implications for predetermined selection and other well-known attacks against the SJC.
For sure Ms. Kiovesi will receive really soon concocted in Sofia compromising materials aiming the rejection of the candidatures of some of the selected magistrates. The main aim of it is of course to discredit the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office. Unlike the previous times of using the European institutions for attacks against the Bulgarian authorities, this time the scriptwriters and the session players of the smear campaign are acting slow and prudently. This is because they experience lack of arguments undermining the professional qualification and integrity of the magistrates. There is also lack of critics against the selection procedure itself, which was characterised with such transparency that even did not provoke any public interest outside the people concerned. The authors of the “typical hate” against the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office are unaware of their thesis because they understand that their activity could discredit also the reputation of the European Prosecutor’s Office, which they tried really hard to promote as counterbalance of the Bulgarian one.
It is really hard to be found disadvantages of a procedure, for which could apply acting judges, prosecutors or investigators meeting the specific criteria - legal experience of minimum 8 years, at least B2 in English that is the working language of the Prosecutor’s Office and under 58 of age. All the applied 35 candidates were approved for the phase but 31 of them took part of the hearings, which means that three compete for each positions. Excluding the investigator Boyko Atanasov, who is applying for the position not because of his willingness of professional prosperity but because as always he wants to attack the members of JSC, his colleagues and of course the prosecutor general, the other 30 candidates protected the reputation of the legal profession. The selection had proven difficult, noted the Selection commission during the discussion on Saturday - the fourth day of the selection procedure. Than, on the first on place meeting since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago the Prosecutorial College selected ten magistrates, whose candidatures shall be proposed for final approval to the European Prosecutor’s Office. The qualities of the selected magistrates could be appreciated even by the disagreement between the vote of the prosecutor general and the members of the College. It turned out that three candidates voted for by the prosecutor general, were not able to be listed in the “top 10”, unlike other three candidates, who Ivan Geshev do not voted for.
However, the speculations were not slow in coming, for example about the fact that the ten magistrates out of 31 were selected without run-off for the first time around. The basic logic requires that before someone makes allegations like this, whether it comes by a politically engaged representative of NGO or a journalist fixed in his hatreds of the Prosecutor’s Office, this person shall be made himself familiar with the rules according to which the members of the College voted. In accordance with Art. 17 (2) of the Rules in case of an equal number of votes, as selected candidates are considered those, who have longer legal experience in accordance with Art. 164 Judicial system Act at the date on the decision for initiation of the selection procedure. Therefor the College selected 11 of the candidates although there are 10 available positions. With regard to the votes of the members of the College - six of the selected candidates received six votes each, three of all - seven and only one of the all candidates eight votes of the members.
It made an impression that both Ivan Geshev and most of the members of the Prosecutorial College in their speeches, which argued their vote, stressed that these magistrates, who are not in the top ten, deserve respect for their efforts and demonstrated professionalism. This was an important sign for those involved in the procedure because of the systematic attacks on the Prosecutor’s Office in the recent years, there are not many applicants who are vulnerable to risk being subject of campaign vilification just because they have decided to seek professional development. Only a few days ago, the Bulgarian representative in the European Prosecutor's Office, Teodora Georgieva, whose name was involved in a fictitious scandal, probably realised this. More than a half a year after the judge from the Sofia City Administrative Court was approved for the position of prosecutor within the newly created European institution, even after she was sworn in before the Court of Justice, her name was used in a publication on a Brussel website run by Bulgarians aiming to attack our Prosecutor’s Office this way.
The fact is that several MEPs, known for their extreme positions and lobbying dependencies, are looking for ways to remove Portugal's representative in the European Public Prosecutor's Office, which was apparently seen as a convenient opportunity to fabricate a scandal by involving the Bulgarian representative.
The truth remains visible - just as there is nothing wrong with the election of Teodora Georgieva as a Bulgarian representative in the European Prosecutor’s Office, so the selection of her ten future colleagues was conducted entirely in accordance with the European rules, and the proposed magistrates have the reasons and responsibility to prove their professionalism in order to be made clear once and for all that the problems of the Judicial system are not because of the Prosecution or at least not only because of it.
Unfortunately, in such case applies the well-known cliche - “how only the Bulgarian cauldron is not guarded”. Unpleasant here is that because of the interests of some home circles, known for their obsession with the Prosecutor’s Office because of their eternal fears to be hold responsible, this nihilism virus could be transmitted to the completely new institution such as the European Prosecutor’s Office.
Who are the proposed European delegated prosecutors by the Bulgaria side
• Svetlana Georgieva Shopova-Koleva - Prosecutor in the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office - selected by eight votes
• Veronika Borislavova Trifonova - Prosecutor in the Sofia Region Prosecutor's Office - selected by seven votes
• Boyko Kirilov Kalfin - Prosecutor in the Kyustendil Region Prosecutor's Office - selected by seven votes
• Bozhidara Evgenieva Ganeva-Dimova - Prosecutor in the Sofia District Prosecutor's Office - selected by a majority of votes
• Biserka Ivanova Stoyanova - investigator in the National Investigation Service - selected by six votes
• Ventsislav Danev Ferdinandov - Prosecutor in the Specialized Prosecutor's Office - selected by six votes
• Preslava Teodosieva Petkova - Investigator in the Investigation Department of the Specialized Prosecutor's Office - selected by six votes
• Maya Paskaleva Kovacheva - Investigator in the Investigation Department of the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office - selected by six votes
• Hristo Krastev Krachunov - Judge at the Sofia District Court - selected by six votes
• Dimitar Zdravkov Belichev - Prosecutor in the Plovdiv Region Prosecutor's Office - selected by six votes