In order to have a properly functioning economy, Bulgaria should have an institutional system ruled by law. This was declared by eight chambers of commerce in Bulgaria in a joint position statement on the rule of law and judicial reform addressed to the Bulgarian institutions on 28th June 2017. Partner Omourtag Petkov, who’s Vice Chairman of the British Bulgarian Business Association, took active part in this initiative and the deliberate “Voice of Business” press conference following the JUDICIAL REFORM: The Voice of Business Conference, held on 8th June 2017. We remind that he was one of the driving forces of the conference and was entrusted to moderate a special panel dedicated to the position of the legal profession with regard to the judicial reform in Bulgaria.
The lack of an impartial and efficient judiciary and prosecution is one of the most significant impediments to economic growth in Bulgaria, to attracting foreign investors and to establish a level playing field for all economic actors, the business organizations said in the letter to the government. They called for independence of the judiciary, transparency and accountability of the prosecution, enactment of the efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial process, e-Justice and legal education reform. “The clear strong political will and real action to implement the necessary reforms to ensure that judges are totally unaffected by political pressure is extremely important to the business,” commented Omourtag Petkov. He emphasized that the letter does not express the interests of only foreign business in the country, but also of many Bulgarian companies, members of the eight chambers of commerce. Omourtag noted that “it is necessary to have control and accountability between the different institutions. There is no complete independence anywhere, and where it is, it is a source of abuse of power and suspicion of corruption”. He added that apart from a change in the institutions, a change in mentality, cadres and legal education in Bulgaria is necessary.
* The joint letter was signed by the British Bulgarian Business Association, American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, Canadian-Bulgarian Business Network, Confindustria Bulgaria, French-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Norwegian Bulgarian Business Group, and Austrian Trade Commission in Bulgaria. It was addressed to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Justice, President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Prosecutor General, Chairman of the Supreme Cassation Court, Chairperson of the National Assembly, Chairperson of the Legal Committee at the National Assembly, and Head of the EU Commission Representation in Bulgaria.
* Photo credit: AmCham