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GRECO calls out Bulgaria for lack of fight against corruption

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Bulgaria needs to do more to fight corruption and prosecute those involved, according to the report of the GRECO anti-corruption organisation to the Council of Europe (CoE).

In Bulgaria, there is a “striking contrast between the perceived level of corruption in the country on the one hand and the very low rate of investigations and convictions for corruption offences against senior government officials,” one of the main conclusions in the report reads.

The report states that Bulgaria’s results so far are definitely unsatisfactory and urgent measures must be taken to fight corruption at the highest levels of power. GRECO’s report comes against the backdrop of the ongoing political crisis in Bulgaria and another expected failure in attempts to form a regular government.

Three years ago, the European Commission de facto terminated the special monitoring for the fight against corruption and organised crime in Bulgaria.

The Commission did the same for Romania only in December 2022, despite Bucharest’s much better results. Now the Netherlands wants Bulgaria to be subject to monitoring again as a condition for admission to the Schengen visa-free travel zone.

GRECO’s report reviews the fight against corruption over the past year and concludes that the lack of convictions is not at all due to the closure of specialised courts and prosecutor’s offices.

The report states that the reason for the ineffective prosecution of corruption cases is due to the “apparent lack of determination to carry out full-fledged investigations and bring cases to court, combined with possible undue influence on and within the prosecutor’s office.”

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