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PACE committee proposes to continue post-monitoring dialogue with Bulgaria

The PACE Monitoring Committee has proposed that the Assembly continue post-monitoring dialogue with Bulgaria, noting that “while the overall progress in the fulfilment of commitments and obligations is not questioned, a number of outstanding concerns still exist”.

Adopting a draft resolution prepared by co-rapporteurs Frank Schwabe (Germany, SOC) and Zsolt Németh (Hungary, EPP/CD), the committee welcomed Bulgaria’s substantial progress on the way to establishing judicial independence, the adoption by the Bulgarian Parliament of a new Anti-corruption and Forfeiture of Assets Act and the introduction of specific measures to fight corruption at parliamentary level, as well as the progress accomplished with regard to the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in connection with the excessive length of judicial proceedings.

However, the parliamentarians underlined a number of outstanding concerns, notably the question of sustainability and irreversibility of the reforms as well as efficiency of measures aimed at combating high-level corruption. Regrettably, “a number of reforms have been subject to hasty legislative procedure in 2016-2017 without proper consultation and involvement of all stakeholders”, they said. The present political situation marked by the boycott of the Parliament by the BSP/Bulgarian Socialist Party “may have a negative impact on the progress and may weaken democratic processes in the country”, they stated, adding that in order “to ensure sustainability and irreversibility of reforms, some steps including, where relevant, legislative changes still need to be undertaken”.

Against this background, the committee proposed to the Assembly to continue post-monitoring dialogue with Bulgaria and to assess the progress made in June 2020 in the areas of the judiciary, high-level corruption, the media, the human rights of minorities, hate speech and violence against women.

The Assembly will vote on the draft resolution during its Summer 2019 plenary session in Strasbourg (24-28 June).