Council of Europe Criticises Bulgaria’s Lack of Political Transparency

A deputy enters the plenary hall of parliament in Sofia, 19 October 2022. Photo: EPA-EFE/VASSIL DONEV

"GRECO notes that top officials of the government are not subject to a proper integrity framework: no code of ethics is applicable to them, no awareness-raising on integrity matters is provided and no mechanism for confidential counselling on ethical issues is in place," the report stated.

GRECO highlighted the absence of rules and transparency to lobbyists seeking to influence government policies: "GRECO is also concerned about ineffective verification of top officials' declarations of interest and assets."

Bulgaria's judicial system and the relations between executive power and the Prosecution, often questioned by opposition parties, is also underlined: "Another issue of concern is the lack of effectiveness of the criminal justice response to corruption offences involving top government officials." 

The Prosecution, headed by Ivan Geshev, has often been criticised for not taking measures against ex-PM Boyko Borissov's alleged role in a money laundering scheme in Spain.

It has also been ciritcised for slowness in acting against the police violence against journalists during the 2020-2021 protests against GERB, for having stopped investigating arms dealer Emilyan Gebrev's possible poisoning with Novichok and has taken to no major actions against the naming of Movement for Rights and Freedoms MP Delyan Peevski, already sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act, in the Pandora Papers. 

On Thursday, unrelated to the report, the current interim government, selected by President Radev and headed by his advisor Galab Donev, boasted of six months of government in which it said all challenges were successfully dealt with.

"We found a...

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