Bulgarian Parliament's Budget Commitee Approves Anti-Graft Draft Bill

The budget and finance committee in Bulgaria’s parliament approved on first reading the draft bill on the prevention of corruption among senior public officials on Thursday, BGNES reported.

The legislation meant to prevent high-level graft and championed by Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva was approved by the parliament’s legal affairs committee on Wednesday. The government submitted the draft to Parliament on 30 June.

Kuneva told the MPs from the budget committee the new law will function on the basis of submitted statements of income and assets. Officials holding top government and political positions and people with access to public finances such as hospital directors and university rectors will fall under the scope of the new legislation.

Corruption has eroded Bulgarians’ trust in their public institutions and deterred businesses for years. The European Commission has repeatedly criticised the authorities for failing to jail high-level officials and overhaul its slow and inefficient judiciary. As a result, it has kept Bulgaria out of the European Union’s borderless Schengen zone.

Kuneva has said that Bulgaria needs to follow Romania’s example if it wants to tackle corruption successfully.

Bulgaria and Romania, which entered the EU in 2007, have been repeatedly warned by the European Commission to fight corruption harder to ensure a fair distribution of EU aid. While Romania has already made “impressive” progress, “corruption remains a serious issue in Bulgaria” and “there are so far very few final convictions in cases involving substantial corruption, despite the scale of the problem,” the EU Commission said in a report in January.

Published by  Novinite

16 July 2015