17 February 2022
Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev sent a letter to the President of the 47th National Assembly Nikola Minchev and to the Chairperson of the Committee on Budget and Finance Lyubomir Karimanski, expressing a negative opinion on a proposal to amend the draft state budget of the Republic of Bulgaria for 2022 after its adoption at first reading by Parliament.
It was only on 15 February 2022 when the Prosecution was informed that a significant reduction in the budget of the judiciary was proposed.
The letter states that the reduction of budget funds for the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria will violate the constitutionally guaranteed financial independence of the judiciary, which will inevitably affect the principle of separation of powers and the rule of law.
The anticipated change - reduction of the budget of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria with another BGN 20 million proposed by the Council of Ministers, i.e. by another 5.6%, is in no way dictated by considerations related to the activities of the Prosecution and puts at risk the implementation of its activities.
Amid drastic increase in the prices of all services, supplies, materials and the planned increase in the minimum salary, this will lead to the inability to provide funding for costs directly related to magistrates’ work in pre-trial proceedings and investigations, including remuneration of experts on the assigned expertise, the costs for translations of cases.
Due to the increased requirements for network and information security, it is necessary to anticipate higher costs for the supply of new hardware, in accordance with the recommendations of the audit report of Information Services. At the same time, the means for maintenance of the available hardware, according to the term of operation of each type of equipment in PORB, also requires higher costs.
The anticipated budget reduction would constitute an inadmissible interference by the legislature in the work of the Prosecution through deficit of funds for its operation. It poses a serious threat to the rule of law in view of the inevitable attempt to control the Prosecution by making its funding conditional on its reform and restructuring.
In his letter to the National Assembly, the Prosecutor General stated that he welcomed the provision of the necessary financial resources for the development of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, but this should not be done by reducing the budgets of other bodies with different goals.
Any law on the annual state budget of the country, which lacks funds for certain constitutionally established state institutions, can be declared unconstitutional, as it paralyzes the activities of these institutions.