|Anti-corruption reforms in Bulgaria are expected to receive a new impetus following the adoption in January 2006 of a new government strategy in this field and a new government body to oversee its implementation. A first draft of the strategy was rushed through the expert level at the end of 2005 in order to meet commitments made to the EU but had so many flaws that it was scrapped altogether. As a result, the government invited the Center for the Study of Democracy and other NGOs to help in developing a new text. The majority of the proposals made by civil society were adopted, notably with a focus on political level corruption, VAT fraud, a stricter system of implementation monitoring and a stronger mandate for the oversight government commission. Other key policies, including conflict of interest provisions, public administration integrity measures and tackling corruption in the economy, were not adopted. More information is available in CSD’s brief on this issue.
The strategy comes in the run up to a crucial European Commission report issued in May on Bulgaria’s readiness to accede to the European Union in 2007 with corruption being one of the areas of closest scrutiny. On its part, the Center for the Study of Democracy is currently finalizing the annual Corruption Assessment Report that would look into the state of play in the field of anti-corruption in Bulgaria in the context of the upcoming EU membership.