Bulgaria Presents New Anti-Graft Draft Law before European Envoys
Bulgaria’s new anti-corruption draft law now before Parliament is more stringent than the version presented last year, Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva has told envoys of the European Union and the European Economic Area.
“I hope that it will receive a strong support in parliament as all surveys show that this is what the public expects,” Kuneva told the ambassadors at a meeting in Sofia, according to a statement issued by the government press office on Thursday.
Kuneva, who is Deputy Prime Minister in charge of coordination of EU policies and institutional affairs, discussed with the foreign ambassadors details of a new draft law on preventing high-level corruption and forfeiture of property connected to illegal activity.
The discussion focused on the proposed mechanism for the government seizure of assets acquired through illegal activities, the protection of whistleblowers and guarantees for the independence of the planned anti-corruption bureau, according to the statement.
The regional development committee in parliament is expected to discuss the draft bill on first reading later on Thursday. The draft has also to clear three other committees – on legal affairs, budget and anti-corruption before it is put to the vote in the chamber.
The bill is a key element of the national strategy for preventing and countering corruption in Bulgaria (2015-2020). In the latest Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) report of the European Commission, the adoption of the anti-corruption law was identified as a “key test” for the government’s resolve to fight corruption in 2016.
In an open letter sent out to the media, the Ambassadors of 14 EU member states, with the support of diplomats from Norway and Switzerland reproached the Bulgarian Parliament for rejecting on first reading the draft law for combating high-level corruption.
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