Bulgaria Deputy PM Warns Delay of Judicial Reform 'Would Be Bad Sign'

Politics » DOMESTIC | July 12, 2015, Sunday // 13:41
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Deputy PM Warns Delay of Judicial Reform 'Would Be Bad Sign' Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva. Photo by BGNES

Work on reforms in Bulgaria's judicial system should be underway before local elections this autumn, Deputy PM Meglena Kuneva has said.

Kuneva said in a Sunday interview with the Bulgarian National Radio that failing to trigger the reform by that time "would be a bad sign", also referring to calls from some opposition parties to postpone the process until after the vote takes place.

In her words, it is lack of trust among political parties that makes it crucial to amend the constitution to pave the way for the reforms.

Some of the proposals have been received quite controversially to some parties, mostly those related to the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS), a decisionmaking body that is often described as "the government of the judiciary" and that brings together several top judges and the country's Chief Prosecutor.

The most disputed ideas envisages the splitting of the VSS into two parts, one for judges and one for prosecutors, and a reduction of its five-year term to four or even three years.

Kuneva said it was vital to delink the European Commission's monitoring reports under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) and accession to the Schengen borderless area. In her words, failure to do that would be detrimental to national security.

Over the years Bulgaria has been much criticized by the EU Commission over failure to improve the efficiency of its judicial system, and that was also manifest in the last CVM report in January.

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Tags: Meglena Kuneva, Kuneva, judicial reform, Schengen, Supreme Judicial Concil, VSS, judiciary, cooperation and verification mechanism, CVM
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