site.btaJustice Minister, Rule of Law Council Members Present to European Commission Constitutional, Anti-Corruption Reforms
The main points and objectives of the proposed constitutional reform and of the new law against corruption were presented at an online meeting with European Commission (EC) representatives, the Ministry of Justice announced here on Tuesday.
This took place during a meeting of the Rule of Law Council, dedicated to the measures taken by the Bulgarian institutions to implement the recommendations of the fourth annual Rule of Law Report. The co-chairs of the Council are Justice Minister Atanas Slavov and the representative of the Supreme Judicial Council Boyan Magdalinchev. Representatives of the executive and the judiciary, the magistrates' associations, the Supreme Bar Council, and the civil sector participate in the Council.
This is the first follow-up meeting on the EU Rule of Law Report 2023, and there will be further meetings with representatives of other member states.
Minister Slavov thanked the judiciary for the good partnership and pointed out that it is represented at the highest level: attending the meeting were the Presidents of the Supreme Courts, the Deputy Prosecutor General, and a representative of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).
The Minister of Justice presented the main proposed constitutional amendments related to the judiciary, including the division of the Supreme Judicial Council and the Prosecutors College, the different way of their formation and composition, in line with the functions of the court and the prosecution service, and with a number of recommendations, especially of the Venice Commission. Attention was drawn to the narrowed functions of the Prosecutor General and the proposed new status of the Judicial Inspectorate. Minister Slavov explicitly stressed that the process of adopting the constitutional amendments will start after receiving the requested opinion of the Venice Commission (CoE’s Commission for Democracy through Law) in early October.
When presenting the draft anti-corruption law, the second reading of which is due this week in Parliament, Minister Slavov emphasized the new investigative functions of the anti-corruption commission, the guarantee of independence of its members, including through the creation of a nomination committee for preliminary assessment of the candidates.
The law is a consequence of Bulgaria's commitments under the Recovery and Resilience Plan and was presented by Slavov as a response to the EC recommendations for more effective investigations of high-level corruption. The Commission will rule on the anti-corruption reform in the framework of the second request for payment under the Recovery Plan. The Commission will also closely follow the development of the reform.
Boyan Magdalinchev of the SJC recommended that the final constitutional amendments should take into account the views of the institutions concerned and the practice of the Bulgarian Constitutional Court.