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EC Exposes Inefficient Polices of Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council.

The newly published EC report on Bulgaria's five-year progress under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) highlights the misguided policies of the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS), the inconsistent application of the principle of independence of the judiciary and the implementation of reforms under external pressure.

"Key institutions like the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) and its inspectorate have taken up their functions. There has been an important investment in the structures to fight organised crime leading to the creation of specialised bodies at the level of the judiciary and police, as well as major steps to improve the legal framework for asset forfeiture and successful cooperation with other Member States," the EC reports says.

"However, the potential of this framework has not yet been used to the full. The Supreme Judicial Council has been given wide-ranging powers to manage and lead the judiciary. These powers have not been used to govern the judicial profession effectively, on the basis of merit and integrity, or to drive the consistency and independence of justice on which public confidence depends" the EC notes.

"There remains a lack of direction in policy which has held back progress. Many institutions have taken useful steps. But the limited scale of these measures inside such institutions, and the lack of a coordinated approach, suggests that questions remain about the direction of reform," the EC highlights.

The EC recognizes the crucial importance of the monitoring mechanism for the country's progress, stressing that it has "helped to maintain the direction of reform at moments of pressure and to encourage changes which require the courage to challenge vested interests."

The Commission questions the sustainability and irreversibility of the conducted reforms, adding that they have been conducted amid external pressure.

The EC draws attention to the work of the new Supreme Judicial Council and of the new General Prosecutor as key the indicators of the sustainability of reforms.

The EC concludes that it will not lift the CVM on Bulgaria and will publish its next progress report on the country at the end of 2013.
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Geographic Code:4EXBU
Date:Jul 18, 2012
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