EC Draft Report: Bulgarian Cabinet Has Will, Must Show Results

EC Draft Report: Bulgarian Cabinet Has Will, Must Show Results

The will of the Bulgarian cabinet of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party, is receiving positive assessment in the EC annual report on Bulgaria.

The report, however, stresses on the need to continue with this will, but to also improve final results, which are still minimal and insufficient.

The information comes from the draft of the report, which many Bulgarian media already possess. The official report of the European Commission is to be released at noon on Wednesday.

According to the draft, the Bulgarian judicial system has triggered the most criticism and recommendations coming from Brussels. The EC points out the need of reforms in the investigation and in the courts, and of the passing of new legislation allowing confiscation of illegally acquired assets without conviction. The EU monitors further say that accusations and allegations against magistrates are not always thoroughly investigated by the judicial inspectorate while sanctions are too light.

The inertness of the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) as the head of the judicial system, of the Chief Prosecutor, and of the Heads of the Supreme Courts, is also a source for alarm in Brussels. The EC recommends that teams of the so-called special tribunals for speedy trials in high-profile criminal cases, which Bulgaria plans to launch in 2012, are composed of judges with irrefutable qualities and professional biographies.

Regarding the fight against organized crime, the EC concludes that despite increased attempts, the results are unsatisfactory, noting the reform of the Ministry of Interior, which has started since the last report, and has led to reorganizations in police precincts and the hiring of more policemen with investigative functions. Collection of evidence, witness protection, investigation of white collar crimes and lack of funding are listed as top weaknesses.

Brussels concludes that in the fight against corruption nothing concrete has been done, stressing on the not-guilty verdicts against former Ministers, Members of the Parliament, and other high-ranking officials.

The EC report, prepared under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, through which Brussels monitors the progress Bulgaria and Romania are making in justice and home affairs, is anticipated not only in the latter countries, but in many other EU Member States since some, such as France and the Netherlands, regardless of the fact there are no such directives in EU legislation, are binding the two countries' Schengen entry with their progress in the fight against organized crime. (Source: Sofia News Agency)

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