The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, called on his fellow MEPs to condemn the “assassination” of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his girlfriend, Martina Kusnirova. “As the president of the European Parliament, as a European citizen and as a former journalist, I would like to express my profound indignation and firm condemnation for the assassination,” he said.

“This is a new, unacceptable attack on the freedom of the press, which is the founding value of our democracy, a few months after the tragic murder of the Maltese journalist, Daphne Caruana Galicia,” added Tajani.

About Kuciak’s work as an investigative reporter, Tajani said: “In his brief but promising career, he conducted inquiries into cases of suspicious financing and tax evasion. He sought out the truth with determination and didn’t answer to anyone. The police declared that he was almost surely killed to stop his investigations.”

“On behalf of the European Parliament, I want to make it completely clear that we all have a duty to continue his battle for truth. It is not acceptable for a journalist in the European Union to be killed today for doing his job.”

In turn, Secretary General of the European People’s Party Antonio López-Istúriz issued the following statement. “I am shocked and appalled by the murder of Ján Kuciak and his fiancée. Investigative journalism should never end in death. This is not the European Union we stand for. Our Union is founded on freedom and a plurality of views. The voice of a journalist must not be silenced.”

From the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), acting Group leader, Udo Bullman, called for a full independent investigation into the deaths and a debate in the European Parliament on the protection of investigative journalists.

“The parallels between this murder and that of Daphne Caruana Galizia are clear. Both were highly regarded journalists investigating corruption and illicit financial activities. Both murders show what lengths organised criminals will go to prevent scrutiny of their activities and their financial dealings. We cannot allow this to happen in Europe.”

Monika Smolková MEP, head of the Slovakian delegation to the S&D Group, said she is confident investigators will find those responsible for the murder of Kuciak and his girlfriend. “We, politicians, will do everything we can to crack down on fraud and illicit financial dealings. Journalists play an essential role in shining a light on these practices and we must ensure they can do so in safety and without fear of repercussions.”