At the end of a parliamentary debate, held on the basis of the report by Frank Schwabe (Germany, SOC) and Zsolt Németh (Hungary, EPP/CD), PACE decided to continue the post-monitoring dialogue with Bulgaria, noting that despite “substantial progress” made by the country in fulfilling its commitments and obligations since the last report in 2013, a number of outstanding concerns still existed.
In adopting a resolution, PACE welcomed the introduction of legislation concerning the judiciary – towards establishing judicial independence – and a new Anti-corruption and Forfeiture of Assets Act; amendments to the Criminal Code which enabled better enforcement of sentences; as well as progress in the implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.
However, due to a period of political instability and repeated elections, a number of reforms were the subject of “hasty legislative procedure in 2016 and 2017 without proper consultation of all stakeholders”. The authorities will still have to take measures to ensure “sustainability and irreversibility of reforms”, the parliamentarians said.
In this context, the Assembly will continue the post-monitoring dialogue with Bulgaria and will assess in June 2020 the progress made as regard the judiciary, high-level corruption, the media, minorities’ human rights, hate speech and violence against women.