Brussels Busts Bulgaria's Attempts at Administrative Reform

Brussels Busts Bulgaria's Attempts at Administrative Reform

Bulgaria's agenda for administrative reform has been primarily focused on staff reduction, which will not result in a sufficient improvement of the work of state employees or the business environment, according to estimates of the European Commission (EC).

Cumbersome administrative procedures remain in place, undermining the impact of low tax rates in Bulgaria, according to EC's assessment of Bulgaria's progress under the Convergence Program for 2011-2014 and the National Reform Program, as quoted by Sega daily.

According to EU experts, apart from reducing workforce, the Bulgarian government is not doing enough to address problems like the lack of stability in the administration, the presence of politically dependent state workers and the insufficient measures aimed at boosting their knowledge and skills.

EC's report also exposes the unproductive fight against corruption in regulatory bodies and institutions related to the protection of competition, which has a negative impact on the country's overall economic and social development and on its EU funds absorption.

Against the backdrop of an inefficient judiciary, important control bodies in the country are operating with an insufficient capacity and fail execute efficient oversight.

Citing the Public Financial Inspection Agency (PFIA) and the Public Procurement Agency (PPA) as examples, EC reminds that in 2009, PFIA carried out follow-up control of only 12% of the announced public procurement deals without following a risk assessment, while PPA is unable to monitor the implementation of recommendations it has issued as part of preliminary control procedures.

According to the experts, internal procedures, approved by the various institutions as part of public procurement, complicate the establishment of cases of conflict-of-interest, while the envisaged sanctions have a negligible preventive effect.

In view of these conditions, Bulgaria's economy fails to create the best environment to attract investment.

Administrative fees charged by the country's institutions remain high while licensing procedures are too complex.

Following a 2011 World Bank report on economic activity in Bulgaria, in one year the country has dropped 7 slots to 51st place./Source: Sofia News Agency/

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