The European Commission today rapped Bulgaria’s knuckles for not doing more to combat endemic coruption and organised crime in the country.
The Commission has already frozen 800 million euros-worth of development funding to Bulgaria because it says the country cannot guarantee the correct use of the money – and the outgoing Bulgarian government admits that not enough has been done. Meglena Plugchieva, the outgoing Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister said, “I share the Commission’s opinion that the process should and could have been accelerated and that the process is relatively slow and we need to continue our work on the mechanism of cooperation and verification.” Romania has also come in for criticism, the Commission finding that the government lacked the political will to stamp out corruption. Johannes Laitenberger, a European Commission spokesperson said, “The Romanian government has tabled important reform proposals by adopting the criminal and the civil code. However the reform effort still remains too fragmented, and the reform process is also sometimes overly politicised.” If the two countries fail to clean up their political and justice systems, and tackle orgnised crime, then ultimately they could face further sanctions. Funding could remain frozen, but the threat on the horizon is that the EU could refuse to recognise rulings handed down by Bulgarian and Romanian courts.