Bulgaria Expects European Commission Oral Report amid TurmoilBulgaria in EU | July 18, 2013, Thursday // 11:59| views
The presentation on Bulgaria has been included in the official agenda of the July 18 sitting of the working group of the EU Council. File photo
The European Commission is expected to present on Thursday an oral presentation on Bulgaria's progress in the spheres of justice and home affairs.
The presentation on Bulgaria has been included in the official agenda of the July 18 sitting of the working group of the EU Council.
The upcoming July 18 report will be the second oral presentation of the EC to the EU Council in 2013.
The first oral report was presented in February, when the EC made an overview of a series of scandalous appointments at key posts in Bulgaria's judicial system and the Constitutional Court, KS, implemented thanks to the direct or indirect intervention of the then ruling center-right party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB.
EU-level discussions then focused on the nomination of Veneta Markovska for Constitutional Court Judge, the appointment of Sotir Tsatsarov as Chief Prosecutor, and the dismissal of Judge Miroslava Todorova.
Bulgaria's government came under increased pressure after this month’s joint statement of the Ambassadors of Germany and France in which they insisted that the oligarchic model of governance was incompatible with EU membership.
The oral presentation on July 18 is expected to include the government's contribution to the controversial appointment of Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security (DANS), as well as the series of scandals concerning illegal wiretapping.
But Mark Gray, a spokesman for the European Commission, has already made it clear that the upcoming oral Cooperation and Verification Mechanism report on Bulgaria will be factual and will not contain political assessments.
Gray’s statement came as a rebuttal of allegations published by the Bulgarian media, that the report will sharply criticize the Bulgarian government and will evaluate it as “weakened and not showing a political will to work on progress with judicial reform, the fight against corruption and the fight against organized crime.”
“The publication is absolutely inaccurate and misleading to readers. It is not grounded in any trustworthy facts. The verbal presentation, that the EC will make this week, will be factual and will not comprise of any political assessments,” the spokesman said on Monday.
Gray also dismissed statements that the EC will recommend a postponement of Bulgaria’s entry into the Schengen border-free area by at least a year due the its unsatisfying progress and raging political crisis.
“The EC does not make a connection between the monitoring mechanism and Schengen and the issue of the border-free are will not be present in the verbal report,” Mark Gray emphasized.
In early 2013, Bulgaria narrowly escaped an extraordinary official report under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism amid warnings by the EC that it was very likely.
The next official CVM report of the EC on Bulgaria's progress in the spheres of justice and home affairs is due in end-2013.