Bulgaria, Romania and Greece were at the bottom of the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 for the European Union.
Denmark leads the index, followed by Sweden and Finland. Estonia and Slovenia are the least corrupt from the East European Member States.
Posted in Budget and Finance, Bulgaria, Institutional Affairs, Justice and Internal Affairs
Tagged Bulgaria, Corruption Perceptions Index 2009, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Transparency International
We now have the European Commission reports on the status of implementation of EU funds in Bulgaria and Romania until 31 July 2009.
Bulgaria has received 488 million Euro out of the total 1,36 billion Euro allocation for 2004-2006 – or a 36% success rate. The advance payments under the 2007-2009 budget amount to 828,7 million Euro. However, Bulgaria has not received interim payments due to the rejection of the compliance assessments of the Management and Control System submitted by Bulgaria in 2008 and 2009 for all operational programs. The only interim payments are from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). A major recommendation for Bulgaria is to improve the management capacity of implementing structures.
Romania has received 1,89 billion Euro for 2004-2006 out of 2,97 billion Euro allocation, or a 63% success rate. The advance payments under the 2007-2009 budget amount to 2,42 billion Euro. Romania has also received 94 million Euro interim payments for the operational programs. A major recommendation for Romania is to revise the national legal framework for public procurement.
The Council has adopted its conclusions on the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) for Bulgaria and Romania.
The Council stresses the need for more substantial results in investigating, prosecuting and judging cases of high-level corruption and organised crime in order to secure lasting change in Bulgaria.
The Council concludes that the CVM should continue “pending the results expected in this framework”.
The spokesman of the European Commission has reportedly said that some Member States have demanded sanctions for Bulgaria and Romania due to failed fight against corruption and misuse of EU funds.
This is not news for me, but we still need to see any public claims and the supporting arguments of those unnamed Member States.
A new report by Chatham House claims that the European Court of Human Rights is in real crisis, with over 50000 cases filed in 2008, as compared to 43000 cases for the first 43 years of existence of the Court.
The report says that four states (Russia, Turkey, Romania and Ukraine) account for about 57% of the Court’s workload. It also notes that Protocol 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms has not yet entered into force due to Russia’s failure to ratify it.
The European Commission has published its regular annual reports under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism for Bulgaria and Romania.
The report for Bulgaria includes an assessment on meeting the indicative benchmarks for justice and home affairs since its last full report (23 July 2008). It also makes recommendations to Bulgaria based on this assessment.
The report says that there is “a change in attitude and a more open and frank dialogue at all levels with the Bulgarian authorities”.
In more specific points, the report finds that:
- The establishment of a permanent Joint Team for the Suppression of Offenses against the EU Financial System is an excellent initiative;
- Killings linked with organized crime continue and known criminals are not apprehended;
- Organizational overlaps continue in the new structure of the Ministry of Internal Affairs which has not yet led to increased effectiveness in the investigation of serious crime;
- Delays in criminal cases are largely caused by the extreme formality of the criminal procedure, a certain passivity of the bench and the seemingly limitless possibilities offered by the criminal procedure law to defendants to stall the proceedings;
- The Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council has become fully operational and has achieved an encouraging track record in the investigation of disciplinary violations and of systemic weaknesses of judicial practice;
- There is a need for a more pro-active approach for fighting corruption in vulnerable areas and sectors such as health or education.
On the question of possible invocation of the safeguard clause, the Commission concludes that this is not necessary. According to the report:
“The kind of deep seated changes that are needed can only come from within Bulgarian society. The CVM is a support tool in this endeavour; it is not an end in itself nor can it replace commitment that Bulgarian authorities need to make in order to align the judicial system and practice with general EU standards.”
Posted in Bulgaria, Enlargement, Institutional Affairs, Justice and Internal Affairs
Tagged Bulgaria, Bulgarian Judiciary, Bulgarian Supreme Judicial Council, Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, Corruption, indicative benchmarks, organized crime, recommendations, regular report, Romania, safeguard clause
The European Commission has proposed to the Council to define deadlines for the correction of the excessive deficit for Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Romania. The Commission also recommends setting a new deadline for the correction of the deficit in Hungary.