EU Commission on Bulgaria: Scandalous Appointments, Escape from Justice Dented Public ConfidenceBulgaria in EU | January 22, 2014, Wednesday // 13:13| views
The 2014 Progress Report on Bulgaria was presented in Brussels Wednesday afternoon. File photo
Repeated controversies such as appointments having to be aborted due to integrity issues, the escape from justice of convicted leaders of organised crime and a succession of revelations about political influence on the judicial system have affected public confidence in Bulgaria.
This is one of the conclusions, contained in the European Commission's report on Bulgaria under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), which was issued on Wednesday.
The report concluded that since the Commission's last report in July 2012 Bulgaria has taken a few steps forward.
“There have been some improvements in appointment procedures, some useful managerial steps by the Prosecutor General and some progress by the Supreme Judicial Council on the workload issue.
However, overall progress has not yet been sufficient and remains fragile. Repeated controversies such as appointments having to be aborted due to integrity issues, the escape from justice of convicted leaders of organised crime and a succession of revelations about political influence on the judicial system have affected public confidence.“
There remain very few cases where crimes of corruption or organised crime have been brought to conclusion in court, the report says.
According to the Commission these are issues at the heart of the modernisation of Bulgarian society: for reform to succeed, it needs a consistent and coherent approach based on a broad consensus in Bulgarian society.
“The fact that this period included three different governments has not helped to build this consensus, though events have also illustrated a widespread public aspiration for reform,“ the report says.
The report contains a number of specific recommendations in the areas of independence, accountability and integrity of the judiciary; reform of the judicial system; efficiency of the judicial system; corruption; and organised crime.
The Commission considers that Bulgaria now needs to speed up reform and to demonstrate a strong track record in all areas.
The next formal report is likely to come in around one year's time in order to allow the time required to assess tangible results.
Between now and then, the Commission will monitor progress closely and on a continuous basis with regular missions, as well as frequent dialogue with the Bulgarian authorities and with other Member States.
The Commission believes that the monitoring process of the CVM, the opportunities provided by EU funds and the constructive engagement of the Commission and many Member States continues to be a valuable support to reform in Bulgaria.
FULL text of the EC report on Bulgaria READ HERE
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