site.btaUPDATED GERB's Coalition Agreement Proposal: What's in It

GERB's Coalition Agreement Proposal: What's in It
GERB's Coalition Agreement Proposal: What's in It
The GERB National Conference authorized its leader to offer a coalition agreement to Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria, Sofia, March 5, 2024 (BTA Photo)

GERB Tuesday made public the full texts of a draft agreement and decision-making mechanism it will offer to its power-sharing partner Continue the Change - Demoicratic Bulgaria (CC-DB).

GERB proposes that after December 2024, the government mandate will rotate between GERB and CC-DB every 15 months. It is in favour of drawing up a new common legislative programme, noting that the one approved in June 2023 expired in December of that year.

The main priorities around which GERB believes there should be unity in the agreement are: 

  • sustainable public finances, with a view to achieving one of Bulgaria's main priorities: eurozone membership; continuing efforts and taking measures to fight corruption;
  • unlocking the country's potential for accelerated economic and social development; pursuing policies to modernize the country, including infrastructure development, energy efficiency, etc.;
  • making education, including vocational education, and the quality of human capital a top priority;
  • finalizing Bulgaria's Schengen accession to include land borders as well;
  • ensuring national security;
  • unconditionally following the European and Euro-Atlantic path of development of the country.

The parties agree that its topmost priority is the judicial reform. That includes, first of all, adoption of a new Judicial Power Act.

Next comes the adoption of a law on forfeiture of unlawfully acquired assets. The proposal goes on at length about the importance of combatting corruption and money laundering on EU level, and says that the scale of money laundering across the EU is some EUR 139 billion. It makes the general observation that "as the key driver of organized crime is the financial profit, the forfeiture of assets is a very effective deterrence for criminal activity".

GERB argues in the draft agreement that the debate on the security services should be held at the Security Council with the Government - "not in TV studios". The document says: " The security services are non-partisan and depoliticized. National legislation does not provide an option for nomination for the heads of security services to be coordinated or determined by representatives of political parties or parliamentary groups. Political neutrality is a mandatory element of the functions and activities of the security services. Having quotas in the security services based on political representation is unacceptable. Interference in the recruitment policy and work of the security services constitutes a threat to national security."

The draft agreement says that the government will keep its structure unchanged, with a Prime Minister and one Deputy Prime Minister. "The partners agree to enforce the principles of transparency, predictability and personal accountability of the members of the Council of Ministers by introducing clear indicators for the implementation of policy commitments, with a report for each ministry published on the Council of Ministers' website every 3 months," the document says. 

It does not say anything about who would be Foreign Minister: that office is a bone of contention for GERB and C-DB as both want it.

The draft agreement says that the effective functioning of the regulators calls for lasting legislation and efficient practices, and any reforms should be enshrined in dedicated legislation rather than in Parliament's rules of organization and procedure. "Clear objective criteria need to be laid down for assessing the professional and ethical qualities, and integrity of candidates" for the regulators, the document says. The nomination of candidates by NGOs is a good solution but needs to be regulated in the appliable law. The agreement also allows for imposing a veto on candidates for positions in the regulators and says that a clear position needs to be set in place for that.

The document goes on to catalogue the positions in the regulators that are due to be filled, the competent parliamentary committees and the governing law: first those electable by an ordinary majority and then those electable by a majority of two-thirds, for which GERB-UDF and CC-DB don't have enough votes in the plenary.

No due date and deadlines are set in the coalition agreement.

Regulators to be filled by an ordinary majority:

● Constitutional Court judges - 1 
● Ombudsman - 1 
● Court of Auditors - 4  
● Fiscal Council - 5  
● Financial Supervision Commission - 5  
● Commission for Public Oversight of Registered  Auditors - 5  
● Commission for Protection of Competition - 7  
● Agency for Public Enterprises and Control - 7 
● Energy and Water Regulatory Commission - 5  
● National Health Insurance Fund - 2 
● National Insurance Institute - 2  
● Commission for Protection against Discrimination - 5  
● Personal Data Protection Commission - 5  
● Commission for the Disclosure of Documents and for the Declaration of Affiliation of Bulgarian Citizens to the State Security and Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian People's Army - 9  
● National Bureau for Control of Special Intelligence Means - 5  
● Commission for Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Assets - 5  
● Council for Electronic Media - 3  
● Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) - 1  
● Economic and Social Council - 1 
● National Council for Bulgarians Living Outside Bulgaria - 7

Regulators to be filled by a majority if two-thirds:

● Anti-Corruption Commission - 3 
● Supreme Judicial Council - 5 
● Supreme Prosecutorial Council - 6  
● Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council - 11

The proposed document says that formations of floating majorities is needed and will be sought where GERB-UDF and CC-DB lack the necessary number of votes.  The majority of 2/3 "implies seeking and obtaining support from the other political formations, with a clear Euro-Atlantic orientation and values," GERB says.  

/NF/

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By 14:21 on 18.04.2024 Today`s news

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