Brussels Says Bulgaria's Progress in Judicial Reform Insufficient
Thursday, 23 January 2014
Bulgaria's progress in reforming its judiciary has been insufficient despite some improvements, the European Commission said in a regular report on Wednesday.
“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," the Commission said in a press release upon the issue of its annual report on Bulgaria's progress under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism. "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, the Commission noted, adding that there remain only a very few cases where crimes of corruption or organised crime have been brought to conclusion in court.
"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 Commission commented. The changes of three governments within a year has not helped to build this consensus despite a widespread public aspiration for reform, according to the EU's executive body.
In its report the Commission made 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.