Term paper: Political Corruption in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is considered to be on of the most problematic zones within the European Union. The political corruption level has increased in the resent years and could not be considered that joining the European Union positively influenced political structures of Bulgaria.

The representatives of European Commission and Euro Union noted the unsatisfactory results of Bulgarian struggle against political corruption: “Corruption in Bulgaria has increased according to the 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International. Bulgaria’s score has dropped from 4,1 in 2007 to 3,6 in 2008, which assigns it 72nd place out of a total of 180 countries. The
Transparency International report points out that Bulgaria’s EU accession had not helped the country deal with its corruption at all, and in fact it was now on the rise. Bulgaria is found to have serious issues with combating political corruption, which is linked to organized crime. The corruption in the country affects seriously the public procurement procedures, the concession contracts, and the legal proceedings, and is reported to be hindering Bulgaria’s progress, and to be the main reason for EU sanctions.” (Sofia News Agency 2009).

Compared to the whole region could be divided into two sections: those who joined the Euro Union and those who have not.

In we compare the situation in Poland and Czech Republic we will find out that Bulgarian case looks the worst. Yet the political structures even with the help of European commission and could not solve he problem. Bulgaria accompanied Poland and Czech Republic in the soviet Block. It had the same historical problems within its history being oppressed by different regimes that caused a serious influence on the formation of Soviet mental understanding. Still Poland and Czech Republic are struggling the rate of political corruption- Poland successfully Czech Republic not so as. But Bulgaria could do nothing with the situation. In 2008 European Union published forward anti-corruption steps for Bulgaria:
“The Bulgarian government still needs to address several outstanding challenges to complement its initial steps against political corruption:
Work on its progress in improving the internal (within the executive) and external (to the judiciary and the legislature) coordination of anti-corruption measures. The complexity of the current coalition government creates additional possibilities for watering down political and administrative accountability, hence the increased need for coordination between different anti-corruption agencies and players;
Two areas remain critically important to curbing political corruption in Bulgaria in the long-run: (i) public procurement – the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank have recently confirmed the findings of national organizations that public procurement remains the most corruption vulnerable area in the economy. According to CSD estimates in 2006 alone losses from public procurement amounted to EUR 500 million (20-25% of the total public procurement market); (ii) VAT, excise, duty-free fraud – according to different estimates the Bulgarian government loses up to EUR 450-500 million in VAT fraud annually. While these numbers may be low compared to similar estimates in Germany (EUR 18-20 billion) or Great Britain (EUR 10 billion) they represent a much higher share of annual VAT revenues in Bulgaria (20-25%) than in these EU countries (5-6%);
The government should also continue its efforts in the administrative corruption domain – improving public spending; enhancing the quality of public services, including by introducing electronic government; moving forward with liberalisation and the reduction of barriers to competition within the country” (Ruslan Stefanov, 2008). These recommendations show that Euro Union is ready to help Bulgarians to overcome their political corruption crisis. Being in one economical area Bulgarian case negatively influence the other countries that is why Euro Union undertakes such serious measures.

If we compare Bulgaria to Ukraine, we see that the situation in Bulgaria could hardly be compared to Ukrainian. Bulgarian case is not as worst as Ukrainian. Still the membership in Euro Union causes not only certain privileges but the duties as well: “Now that Bulgaria is part of the EU and the Internal Market its national anti-corruption policy cannot achieve its full impact without being complemented by a comprehensive EU-wide anti-corruption policy. Not being in the core of EU’s acquis, anti-corruption was a relatively new matter to tackle and, in contrast to other areas of EU competence, it had little specific guidelines to offer applicant countries before the last rounds of enlargement. Still, the significance of transparent and accountable government for the functioning of the EU’s internal market and the delivery of its core policies requires that anti- corruption be made one of the key requirements for membership.” (Ruslan Stefanov, 2008).

The comparing of the Bulgarian case to the situation in whole region shows not so pleasant results. Romania and Bulgaria within the Euro Union are the most problematic in the sphere of political corruption. Their rate causes serious problems within further development. The economical factor is one of the mostly seriously damaged by the political corruption and it is essential that is troubles Brussels: “Bulgaria is also ranked as the most corrupt country in the EU, followed by Romania. In the overall ranking, Romania is again one place ahead ranking 71st. Columbia, Ghana, Georgia, Cuba, Kuwait, Tunisia, and Croatia occupy the spots before Bulgaria, whereas the People’s Republic of China is ranked 73rd and the Republic of Macedonia is 74th. For a second year in a row Somalia is found to be the most corrupt country in the world with a score of 1. It is followed by Myanmar, Iraq, Haiti, and Afghanistan. With a score of 9,3 Denmark is reported to be the country with the lowest levels of corruption together with Sweden and New Zealand” (Sofia News Agency 2009). We see that Bulgarian case looks poorly when we compare it to Denmark (which is also the member of Euro Union) and even if we compare it to Poland and Czech Republic we will note significant differences.

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