Bulgaria MPs Rebuffed by 14 Diplomats over Anti-Corruption Bill
Bulgarian lawmakers have to come up with new ideas about tackling high-level corruption, foreign diplomats have said in a joint statement.
In an open letter sent out to the media, the Ambassadors of 14 EU member states, with the support of diplomats from two non-EU countries (Norway and Switzerland) have reproached the Bulgarian Parliament for rejecting on September 2 "the draft law against high level corruption, at its first reading."
"The rejection without further parliamentary discussion of the initial text proposed by the government sends a negative signal in the frame of the fight against corruption," the statement itself reads.
"The effective fight against corruption is a crucial element of the Rule of Law, and has been put at the top of the agenda by the European Commission in its successive CVM reports, endorsed by our governments and the successive governments of the Republic of Bulgaria."
"We hope the political parties who rejected it (including those that did not vote) will present new ideas as soon as possible to tackle this issue, hence showing this failure doesn’t mean that MPs disregard the importance of combating corruption at any level."
The list includes "EU Ambassadors of the Netherlands, France, Germany, the UK, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Poland, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Cyprus, Spain [and] Luxembourg." Their statement is "supported by the ambassadors of Norway and Switzerland."
Despite having shown strong commitment to combating corruption over the past months, MPs failed to adopt last week a bill many had previously acclaimed due to resistance from both the opposition and some of the government's coalition partners.
The draft law was a key part of junior coalition partner Reformist Bloc's election platform, and some RB members hinted they might consider leaving the ruling axis.
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, however, promised after the vote that the bill would be re-tabled in three months' time.
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