British MEP: EC Can Reconsider Funding for Bulgaria

Bulgaria in EU | November 4, 2012, Sunday // 14:00|  views

The former rapporteur for Bulgaria and British MEP, Geoffrey Van Orden, has voiced disappointment by Bulgaria on several occasions already. Photo by BGNES

The EU can reconsider its financing for Bulgaria, particularly in the sectors connected with home affairs and justice, according to the former rapporteur for Bulgaria and British MEP, Geoffrey Van Orden.

Van Orden made the statement Sunday, speaking in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR.

He refuted reports that after the elimination of safeguard closes, Europe would lose any and all tools to influence the processes in Bulgaria.

"Bulgaria receives very serious financial support from Europe; the country gets lots of money concretely for the sectors that are subject of the monitoring reports under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, and must adhere and fulfill the requirements and the recommendations of these reports. There are opportunities to reassess how these finances are spent and what amounts should be slated in the future," the British MEP noted.

He pointed out that the warning of the European Commission about a possible interim report shows that the EU is alarmed by what is going on in Bulgaria and this must be taken very seriously.

Ignoring strong criticism from the European Commission that the Parliament is covering up tipoffs against one of the candidates, the Bulgarian MPs elected Wednesday without debates the 2 constitutional judges from their quota.

They are Anastas Anastasov, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament from the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB and the Deputy Chair of the Supreme Administrative Court, VAS, Veneta Markovska.

In the aftermath, EC announced that Bulgaria might face an interim report on justice and home affairs in case "the situation requires it."

The warning was stated by Olivier Bailly, spokesperson of EC.

"There were serious allegations of trading influence and corruption on the part of one of the candidates," Bailly said, but did not disclose a name.

A week before the Parliament voted for the two constitutional judges, the MP from the opposition left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, Yanaki Stoilov, announced that a tipoff has been logged against judge Markovska, signed by someone named Georgi Tolev.

The tipoff is based on an investigative journalistic report, alleging that in January 2010 the judge interfered to have two police officers fired over a traffic stop. The man who was stopped, Georgi Georgiev, reportedly is the live-in boyfriend of Markovska. He was apparently drunken then and entered in a brawl with the police patrol.

Markovska, reportedly, met at the time with the Deputy Interior Ministers, to ask for the two police officers to be fired. She denies this and other damming information in the report as anonymous libel.

However, the information about the meeting was confirmed in 2010 by Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and just one day ago by his Deputy, Vesselin Vuchkov.

There are further allegations about profitable real estate purchases by the judge's boyfriend and her relatives, including her mother, and of close ties with a defense attorney, whose cases have been under her authority.

The Bulgarian MPs continue to stand form behind Markovsa's appointment.

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Tags: former rapporteur for Bulgaria, British MEP, Geoffrey Van Orden, Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), EC, report, VSS, Supreme Judicial Council, National Investigative Services, Members of the Parliament, Chief Prosecutor, Constitutional Court, judge, president, Rosen Plevneliev, VSS, parliament, parliamentary quota, EC, Bulgaria, interim, report, judicial appointments, monitoring, cooperation and verification mechanism, Veneta Markovska, VAS, quota, constitutional judges, elected, GERB, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Anastas Anastasov, Ivan Kostov, DSB, Yanaki Stoilov, BSP, Veneta Markovska, Chair of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, Iskra Fidosova, Jose Manuel Barroso


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