European Commission expresses regret over dissolution of Slovakia Special Prosecutor’s Office News
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European Commission expresses regret over dissolution of Slovakia Special Prosecutor’s Office

A European Commission spokesman expressed regret to Reuters on Thursday over Slovakia dissolving its Special Prosecutor’s Office without safeguards to ensure the continuity of effective investigations in the country. The spokesman said that the dissolution of the office would potentially undermine the effectiveness of investigations.

The office was officially dissolved on March 20 after its dissolution was approved in a fast-track procedure before the Slovak Parliament on February 8, despite nationwide protests and statements of concern from the European Commission. Thousands of protesters gathered in front of Slovakia’s Parliament and 30 other Slovak cities on February 7 and 8 to protest the passage of the criminal reforms. In addition, the European Commission stated that dissolving the office would reduce the expertise and efficiency of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The spokesman said that the European Commission will assess the consequences of the office’s dissolution and “will not hesitate” to ensure that EU law and financial interests are respected and protected, respectively.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico proposed to dissolve the Special Prosecutor’s Office as part of his criminal law reforms in December 2023. The office handled serious cases including corruption and organized crimes in the country. It oversaw the corruption case against Dušan Kováčik and indicted Juraj Gedra. Kováčik is a candidate of Fico’s party and Gedra is head of Slovakia’s government and a close associate of Fico. 

Previously, on January 17, the European Parliament expressed concerns over Slovakia’s proposed criminal reforms and the dissolution of the Special Prosecutor’s Office. The parliament was worried that the reforms would potentially endanger the rule of law in Slovakia. A day later, Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová urged lawmakers to reconsider Fico’s proposal to dissolve the Special Prosecutor’s Office and reform Slovakia’s criminal law. She stated that Fico’s reforms were inconsistent with the country’s constitution and that inappropriate legislation could intrude into the rights of individuals affected by criminal activity.