EU to Deliver New CVM Report of Bulgaria Late This YearBulgaria in EU | January 25, 2017, Wednesday // 12:29| views
File photo, EPA/BGNES
Bulgaria needs a "track record in terms of bringing high level cases to a successful conclusion in court," the EU Commission has established.
The finding is part of its annual report on Bulgaria's judiciary and efforts at fighting corruption and organized crime, released on Wednesday.
The Commission also says it intends to bring forward the next report to the end of 2017 to assess progress in benchmark where success has been noted.
It "stands ready to provide further assistance to help reinforcing the irreversibility of progress and therefore bring the mechanism to a conclusion."
It notes that EU bodies "repeatedly made clear" the CVM will only be lifted once "all of the six benchmarks applying to Bulgaria are satisfactorily met," in a clear reference to calls from some Bulgarian officials that monitoring should be scrapped.
Overall, pace of reform has varied, "notably due to periods of political instability", and while a framework has been put in place to pursue reform and fight corruption, progress has been a challenge.
Ten years on from the first report, "the Commission is taking stock with an overview of the achievements, the challenges outstanding, and the remaining steps needed to achieve the CVM's objectives."
The country needs to address a number of challenges such as tensions in the supreme judicial body, the formalism of criminal procedures, a problematic legal framework for investigation and prosecution of corruption and organized crime and restructuring the prosecuting authority. (You can find a summary of the Commission's observations here).
The Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) was set up at the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union in 2007 to address shortcomings in judicial reform and the fight against corruption and organized crime.
The benchmarks include "judicial independence and efficiency, integrity and the fight against corruption and organised crime," and "legislative and institutional steps" are needed to address them, according to the Commission.
It describes the CVM as having "an important role in Bulgaria as a driver for reform, as well as a tool to track progress."
The full text of the report is available here.