The Bulgarian government has reacted sharply to reproaches by the Commission of having made only limited progress on the country’s way to EU accession.
Reform of the judiciary system: Commissioner Rehn says progress is “limited” and new amendments to the constitution “leave certain ambiguities regarding guarantees on the independence of the judiciary”. Overall, ” the balance sheet of Bulgaria’s judiciary reform is not yet satisfactory”.
Fight against corruption: “Needs to be addressed much more vigorously”, according to Commissioner Rehn, even though “first steps” have been taken. In particular, “tangible results of investigations with concrete outcomes” are still missing.
Fight against organised crime: Similarly, reforms of structures have so far failed to result in a sufficient number of “investigations and prosecutions”.
Trafficking in human beings: “Remains a problem for Bulgaria,” the Commissioner says. He recommends stepping up witness protection in order to become more efficient here.
Schengen: The action plan and the integrated border management strategy that Bulgaria has implemented “need now to be put into practice”, Commissioner Rehn says.
Integration of minorities; in particular of Roma: “Bulgaria needs to speed up efforts”.
Protection of intellectual property rights: Both Romania and Bulgaria have made efforts in combating so-called piracy, but these need to be sustained, Commissioner Rehn says.
Veterinary issues: Bulgaria still has not enough inspection posts, the Commissioner says.
The Commissioner seemed to be happy with progress made by Bulgaria in public administration reform and with agencies set up to organise the distribution of EU support for agriculture and of structural funds.