EU Urges Bulgaria to Show 'Real Results' in Fighting High-Level Corruption, Organised Crime
The European Commission issued on Wednesday its latest report on steps taken by Bulgaria on judicial reform and the fight against corruption and organised crime.
The report [PDF], issued in the context of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), points to where progress has been made against the established benchmarks in the past 12 months, and where further steps are needed. (You can read a detailed summary with the recommendations here).
"Seeing real results in tackling high level corruption and organized crime cases remains Bulgaria's biggest challenge and must be the highest priority," European Commission First Vice-President Timmermans said in a statement.
"Last year Bulgaria took some important steps to put reform back onto the agenda. Now it is time to move to the next stage by turning the strategies on judicial reform and the fight against corruption into action on the ground and delivering concrete results,"Timmermans said.
"The adopted amendment of the national Constitution to reform the judicial system, confirming political determination to carry forward the judicial reform strategy, should be quickly followed up through the adoption of the remaining legislative initiatives."
The European Commission said that “slow progress in tackling high-level corruption and organised crime cases continues to erode public confidence in the ability of the Bulgarian authorities to deliver justice.”
“The same is true for the uncertain reaction and follow-up to controversies such as the Sofia City Court case in 2014,” the EU executive added in the statement.
The Commission particularly noted that the many of the recommendations in the 2015 CVM report still require action which “underlines a lack of determination in the efforts of the Bulgarian institutions in key areas of judicial governance.”
The European Commission also said that the rejection of a draft law intended to put in place a new unified anti-corruption authority by Bulgaria’s Parliament “underlined a lack of political consensus behind the reform process.”
While the two national strategies on judicial reform and the fight against corruption represent a detailed blueprint for action, it is clear that “their translation into concrete and tangible progress will be a major challenge for 2016,” the Commission said.
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