The parliament in Sofia has amended Bulgaria’s constitution to improve its judiciary, widely seen as inefficient and corruption-prone. This is a requirement for Bulgaria’s plan to join the European Union nine months from now. The changes aim to raise accountability in the courts. Opposition deputies joined the three-party Socialist-led coalition to achieve the three-fourths majority required to amend the constitution.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said after the vote he would give a preliminary assessment on Monday whether Bulgaria had done enough to join on time.
“I can only encourage Bulgaria to adopt such constitutionnal changes that will facilitate the completion of the judicial reform and fight against corruption and organised crime.”
The country of 7.8 million people once led neighbouring Romania in EU reforms but stumbled last year after messy elections and a protracted political standoff.
Brussels has urged Sofia to sweep away a climate of impunity; Otherwise it will recommend in a May 16th report that EU members delay Bulgaria’s accession until 2008.