French, US Envoys to Bulgaria Agree on Urgency of Judicial Reform
The condition of the Bulgarian judiciary is not a strictly domestic affair and it of interest for France too, according to French Ambassador to Bulgaria Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes.
Speaking Thursday at a conference on the rule of law, he said that France was interested in judicial reform in Bulgaria because both countries are EU Member States.
“It is a political project for uniting democracies and free peoples and the condition for a state to be a rule of law state is equal application of the law to all, regardless of the parties to the dispute”, he emphasized, according to BGNES news agency.
“The EU offers to its members a free and unified space through law. This is why everything that is considered legal in Bulgaria is legal in France too,” the French diplomat stated.
The French ambassador pointed out that an unreformed and dependent judiciary is causing investors to either leave a country or address international courts of arbitration.
He noted that Bulgaria had to ensure the independence of each and every magistrate and to make them invulnerable to pressure.
Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes recommended that magistrates elect their representatives to the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) directly, adding that the parliamentary quota led to an intermingling of the branches of government.
US Ambassador to Bulgaria Marcie Ries said that Bulgaria faced an urgent need to strengthen the rule of law and fight corruption.
She said that Bulgaria could achieve economic development only by making progress in the fight against corruption.
The US diplomat noted that corruption and the flawed rule of law could have a very strong negative impact on the Bulgarian economy.
She also said that foreign investment in Bulgaria had dropped from EUR 9 B in 2007 to EUR 1.3 B in 2014.
Ries stressed that corporations tend to invest in stable countries with high return estimates.
She also said that Bulgaria has to establish a judiciary that will be reliable and free of political engagement and doesn't act randomly or partially.
The US asmbassador pointed out that Bulgarian citizens want a fundamental change addressing deep-seated problems.
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