Bratislava, March 9 (TASR) – The investigation into the murders of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his partner would be helped by creating a joint investigating team with Europol, recommended MEPs who are visiting Slovakia in connection with the double murder and, among other things, have observed people’s distrust in the police and other institutions.
The MEPs also spoke about the need to look at the allocation of EU funds in Slovakia.
“We’re requesting a joint investigating team with Europol, as it will bring transparency to the investigation,” said MEP Claude Moraes, adding that Europol could in this way gain access to all documents, which would bring more transparency. “There must be an investigation here, which must be without procedural errors. The police and prosecutor must show you that they are capable of doing it and doing it successfully,” added MEP Ingeborg Grassle.
After visiting the village of Velka Maca (Trnava region), where the double murder took place, the MEPs agreed that Slovakia is in a tough situation. They can see that people don’t trust the police and other institutions. According to Grassle, it would be good to look more closely into the assertions of murdered journalist Kuciak concerning the links of people connected to organised crime.
The delegation also spoke about the need to look at what is happening at the Slovak Land Fund, how land is rented and also how EU funds are allocated. In addition, the MEPs were interested in agricultural subsidies. [Kuciak claimed that the suspected Italian Mafia figures about which he wrote were engaged in fraud relating to EU funds and agricultural subsidies. – ed. note].
During their visit to Slovakia, the MEPs spoke to Prime Minister Robert Fico, Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (both Smer-SD) and representatives of the police and prosecutor’s office. “We’ve made it clear that we want the most impartial and most comprehensive investigation,” said Moraes. The MEPs also stated that they’ve seen “quite unusual things” in Slovakia.
They will present their findings at a plenary session of the European Parliament. The report will also include the issue of press freedom and the status of journalists.
According to MEP Ivan Stefanec (KDH), who initiated the mission, the visit of the EP mission is only the beginning of the work of the European Parliament on this serious matter. He said that this should lead to specific results and proposals for improving control over the drawing of EU funds, avoiding cross-border tax fraud and increasing the protection of journalists.