Parliamentary questions
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14 August 2020
Question for oral answer
to the Commission
Rule 136
Radan Kanev (PPE), Elena Yoncheva (S&D), Daniel Freund (Verts/ALE), Michal Wiezik (PPE), Ramona Strugariu (Renew), Petar Vitanov (S&D), Bas Eickhout (Verts/ALE), Petra De Sutter (Verts/ALE), Reinhard Bütikofer (Verts/ALE), Tsvetelina Penkova (S&D), Sven Giegold (Verts/ALE), Ska Keller (Verts/ALE), Ivo Hristov (S&D), Dan Nica (S&D), Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D), Brando Benifei (S&D), Robert Hajšel (S&D), Maria Grapini (S&D), Klára Dobrev (S&D), Marianne Vind (S&D), Rovana Plumb (S&D), Isabel Santos (S&D), Johan Danielsson (S&D), Evin Incir (S&D), Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), Clare Daly (GUE/NGL), Andreas Schieder (S&D), Marc Angel (S&D), Birgit Sippel (S&D), Tanja Fajon (S&D), Isabel García Muñoz (S&D), Saskia Bricmont (Verts/ALE), Damien Carême (Verts/ALE), Jakop G. Dalunde (Verts/ALE), Markéta Gregorová (Verts/ALE), Claude Gruffat (Verts/ALE), Alice Kuhnke (Verts/ALE), Mounir Satouri (Verts/ALE), Jutta Paulus (Verts/ALE), Niklas Nienaß (Verts/ALE), Grace O'Sullivan (Verts/ALE), Katarina Barley (S&D), Michèle Rivasi (Verts/ALE), Ernest Urtasun (Verts/ALE), Vera Tax (S&D), Marie Toussaint (Verts/ALE), Thomas Waitz (Verts/ALE), Bronis Ropė (Verts/ALE), Terry Reintke (Verts/ALE), Ismail Ertug (S&D), Jens Geier (S&D), Constanze Krehl (S&D), Maria Noichl (S&D), Tiemo Wölken (S&D), Dietmar Köster (S&D)
 Subject: Imminent threat to the rule of law and democracy in Bulgaria

Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007 with a special monitoring mechanism in the fields of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organised crime (the CVM ‑ Cooperation and Verification Mechanism). In October 2019, more than 10 years after the CVM was launched, the Commission concluded that Bulgaria had made enough progress for monitoring to be brought to an end. Following this conclusion, the situation in Bulgaria continued to deteriorate, reaching very worrying levels in July 2020, when most democratic mechanisms in the country seemed to be blocked. This is also demonstrated by the fact that according to the Transparency International 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index, Bulgaria is the most corrupt of all the Member States. With regard to media freedom, the situation is even more dire: Bulgaria is ranked at the very bottom of the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, in 111th place. The independence and accountability of the judiciary have also significantly deteriorated. The radical polarisation in the work of the newly elected Prosecutor-General has led to attacks on the principles of private property and the free market, and culminated in a showy raid on the building of the President of the Republic, which involved searches of the offices of the administration and resulted in several officials being arrested. This was an unprecedented and unacceptable act in a state governed by the rule of law.

The state of the rule of law in Bulgaria is an emergency and the situation requires concrete actions to protect Bulgarian citizens.

1. What is the Commission’s assessment of the current situation in Bulgaria in terms of media freedom, anti-corruption reforms and the independence of the judiciary?

2. What kind of instruments could be triggered at EU level to prevent the further deterioration of the rule of law in Bulgaria?

3. What concrete steps has the Commission taken with regard to Bulgaria and what kind of recommendations could be effective in remedying the situation?

Submitted: 14/08/2020

Lapses: 15/11/2020

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