US Embassy: Corruption in Bulgaria Has Reached Crisis Level

Politics » DIPLOMACY | December 11, 2014, Thursday // 09:03| Views: | Comments: 8
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Bulgaria: US Embassy: Corruption in Bulgaria Has Reached Crisis Level Bruce Berton, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Sofia, photo by BGNES

Bruce Berton, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Sofia, has claimed that Bulgaria is plagued by crisis-level corruption which takes its toll on all citizens.

Berton spoke to representatives of Bulgaria’s judiciary on the occasion of the International Anticorruption Day, which is observed annually on December 9.

Corruption is a worldwide problem, including in the US, as you can tell by many headlines in the press. Unfortunately, I am afraid that corruption in Bulgaria has reached a critical level which has a negative impact on the life of each and every citizen,” he declared, as cited by the BGNES news agency and the press office of the US Embassy in Sofia.

“It takes political will and professional capacity to implement all of the anti-corruption initiatives and reforms,” he noted.

“Over the past 20 years, the US government has provided financing of USD 64 M for programs aimed at strengthening the rule of law in Bulgaria, including training programs for Bulgarian magistrates,” he said.

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» To the forumComments (8)
Optimistic - 13 Dec 2014 // 18:08:31

Seedy is right on this.

In a week when systematic torture in the US has been made public the US has no right to preach to others about morals.

peterperfect - 12 Dec 2014 // 09:52:52

Philippe I am afraid you are right but, eventually the people will take control and either change things or the cycle will begin again. The EU is right to exert pressure and maybe pressure connected to grants and better monitored would be a good thing. I only hope that, if the people take control anarchy will not prevail.

Philippe - 12 Dec 2014 // 01:46:06

@PBI - Rule of law. What you often hear from foreign diplomats is that in fact a big part of the Bulgarian "elite" does not want the rule of law. Some even believe in other rules to create order in the society.

In the nineties, we saw the sportsmen, ex DS people, ex military guys taking their position. Very soon it became clear to them that without cheating they could not make it. Free market rules? Paying taxes? Being punished by courts? business without nepotism? Accepting to work for a legal salary? Saving money to buy a car or a house? Paying back to banks?

No; These people could not survive without cheating, and they are everywhere today: In the government, in the parliament, in the prosecution and the courts, at the customs, in the business world, in the press (and Novinite is a good example).

In fact, they don't want rule of law tomorrow, because they know that the things will be finished for them. Just like in Romania - where and independent justice starts to work - , many of them would end up in jail.

Alternatives for the rule of law? Yes, they think they have one: A capo di tutti capi, who talks to them, who controls them, and distributes the wealth and the power. And some charity and good will to clean their souls!

And by staying in position, they block all young Bulgarians who could do better.

This is the situation in BG 2014.

Any hope for better? Sorry, I don't see any and many share my opinion. I see a lot of foreign divestment.

Brussels can write another 20 CVM reports.

PBl - 11 Dec 2014 // 23:49:58

@peterperfect In this particular case I suspect Mr. Berton was referring to the lack of will and competence to fight corruption among the Bulgarian judiciary. That is absolutely required in order to fight corruption in the country (among its politicians, police and population at large). I also do not think the judiciary should be "removed" from from the private sector (if I understood you well). One of the main roles of the state is to enforce the rule of law, to create the conditions for a fair competition among the private businesses.

@Seedy Fighting corruption is crucial for the sake of Bulgaria and the Bulgarians. It does not hurt to get help for that from anyone.

Fr Jack Hackett - 11 Dec 2014 // 19:46:22

In my experience nobody is prepared to take the necessary steps against those who misuse power, They are either afraid, dont want to upset someone who could make problems for them or their family or just cant be bothered

Seedy - 11 Dec 2014 // 10:22:37

Well, he said corruption IN Bulgaria and not particularly BY Bulgarians ;)

Given the world-renowned honesty and integrity in US business, diplomatic and government circles, does Mr Berton really feel that he is in any way qualified to take the moral high ground? "Medice, cura te ipsum"....

peterperfect - 11 Dec 2014 // 10:05:23

“It takes political will and professional capacity to implement all of the anti-corruption initiatives and reforms,” So the implication is that our politicians are not professional and have not the political correct. What this man sees from the outside is what is seen by other EU countries and the world and out leaders should be ashamed. So should the people who vote them in, people and politicians are in this together, when corruption is reported or exposed by the people the whole might of the state should come down hard on the corrupt. It is only by discriminating against the corrupt and large sentences in jail that are highly publicied that this will go away. Oh, and removing the judiciary from the private sector.

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