EPP Group sends urgent fact-finding mission to Sofia

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The EPP Group has sent an urgent fact-finding mission to Sofia just a few days after the detention of former Prime Minister of Bulgaria and GERB Party leader Boyko Borissov. Borissov, together with former Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov and the Party Press Officer Sevdelina Arnaudova, were detained on the night of 17 March and released without being charged less than 24 hours later.

Former premier Borissov’s decade-long rule ended last April after an election that showed popular anger over high-level corruption in the European Union’s poorest member state.

A new centrist coalition government took office in December, pledging zero tolerance on graft.

Three other members of Borissov’s centre-right GERB party were also detained, including former Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, in the operation prompted by probes of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Bulgaria, the interior ministry said.

EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber MEP has appointed Monika Hohlmeier MEP, Chair of Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control, and Jeroen Lenaers MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in Parliament’s Committee on Civil liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, to take part in the fact-finding-mission to Bulgaria.

The two MEPs requested meetings with the involved parties, including the Bulgarian Prime Minister, the Minister of the Interior and the office of the General Prosecutor of Bulgaria.

The Budgetary Control Committee is responsible for the budgetary control of all institutions and all financial means of the European Union including the conditionality mechanism. The Committee on Civil liberties, Justice and Home Affairs is competent for internal security as well as the rule of law.

The arrest of Borissov is being considered as the biggest operation led by the European Prosecutor’s Office since its establishment, as well as the highest-ranking Bulgarian politicians arrested in recent Bulgarian history.

Socialists in the European Parliament had accused the centre-right EPP of turning a blind eye on Borrisov’s action.

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