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Commenting article: EC Spokesman: Bulgaria Has Not Learned Its Lesson

European Commission Spokesman, Mark Gray, has announced concern at Bulgaria's combating of conflicts of interest inside the Bulgarian government.

The EC was recently informed of a case where two former officials from the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy and Energy prepared the documentation for the organization of a tender on a large public procurement, then joined in a private company which had filed an application to take part in the bidding, and finally won the tender.

Gray drew attention to this case in an interview for Bulgarian daily newspaper Standart, stating; "This recent occasion of conflicting interests is especially concerning, as it signals that Bulgaria has not learnt its European lesson. Obviously, when two state officials mysteriously table their resignations and only two months emerge as beneficiaries on EU projects, there is something very wrong in it."

NellieotAmerica - 16 Apr 2009 // 14:16:35

Nobody asks these businessmen how they earned their first million. But this first million is the key to their social position and their success. They didn't break their connection with organised crime. State prosecutors refuse to pursue the cases for fear of being killed themselves. Organised crime has become part of the establishment. And it organises itself far better than the country, than the government, and the society. You can see corruption with government officials and practically ministerial-level people with wealth that cannot be explained. So the question is - how did they amass such huge amounts of wealth in Bulgaria?

NellieotAmerica - 16 Apr 2009 // 14:07:03

Italy is a state with a mafia, Bulgaria is a mafia with a state.

Bill - 16 Apr 2009 // 13:34:30


I'll grant you all that. My observation was aimed at the amount of control the Mafia has in the respective societies. I was watching a documentary just a day or so ago, and among other things it said that there was hardly any business in Italy that wasn't paying "protection" money to the Mafia.

CreepyS - 16 Apr 2009 // 13:12:47


I think there is - we (Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Albania etc.) are young post-communist mafia states while Italy is a mature mafia state so that it is richer, has more decent economy and resembles more to a normal country.

Bill - 16 Apr 2009 // 12:55:06


From my viewpoint here in Germany, I wonder if there's really all that much difference between Bulgaria and Italy, insofar as Mafia control is concerned.

CreepyS - 16 Apr 2009 // 12:33:39

Reading the bbc article about Croatia

I believe that "not to learn its lesson" is the way most Balkan countries function in this specific moment in history - in fact all the Slavic ones. It is all the same all over the place - corruption, organized crime, "inexplicably" rich politicians-turned-businessmen, murders, "reforms" and "crackdowns" that dont work and the belief that the country wont be able to get rid of all this without external pressure and help.

So there is nothing new and it wont change any time soon in the Slavic Balkans. We are just very lucky to be in the EU because of the huge miscalculation of the Eurocrats who only now start to understand that nobody knows how to turn a mafia state into a normal one in a reasonably short time.

Robin - 16 Apr 2009 // 11:30:19

"Family ties should also be considered a prerequisite for conflict of interests, along with the political orientation and activities of a public person. Bulgaria should observe the common principles of the European community." Gray concluded."

If you make "family ties" a conflict of interest in BG, business would grind to halt immediately.

Bulgaria news (Sofia News Agency - is unique with being a real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Bulgarian news. The editorial staff also publishes a daily online newspaper "Sofia Morning News." (Sofia News Agency - and Sofia Morning News publish the latest economic, political and cultural news that take place in Bulgaria. Foreign media analysis on Bulgaria and World News in Brief are also part of the web site and the online newspaper. News Bulgaria