La corrupción en Bulgaria

Cable sobre la corrupción en Bulgaria

Un alto funcionario de la UE informa a la embajada sobre la clase política y judicial en Bulgaria

ID:214209
Date:2009-06-26 15:43:00
Origin:09SOFIA325
Source:Embassy Sofia
Classification:CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno:08SOFIA365 08SOFIA499 09SOFIA225
Destination:VZCZCXRO9986
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSF #0325/01 1771543
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 261543Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY SOFIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6109
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE 0264
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SOFIA 000325

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/22/2019
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, ECON, BU
SUBJECT: BULGARIA/EC MONITORING TEAM: "HOW DO YOU MAKE
THEM REFORM WHEN THEY DON'T WANT TO?"

REF: A. SOFIA 0225
B. 08 SOFIA 0365
C. 08 SOFIA 0499

Classified By: DCM Alex Karagiannis for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: XXXXXXXXXXXX (please strictly protect) confided that
the July report on Bulgaria's anti-crime and corruption
efforts would be negative, but the EU political level would
"water down" the tone of the final version. The report's
release might be delayed until September because of the
formation of a new Commission. In contrast to previous
conversations, XXXXXXXXXXXX emotionally reflected Brussels,
growing and by now extreme frustration with Sofia's cosmetic
fixes to get a "good report" while failing to undertake real
reforms. He confirmed that the Dutch want to invoke the
safeguard clause when the report is released and that others,
including the Swedes who hold the next presidency, favor
extending the Mechanism beyond its three-year mandate. END
SUMMARY.


2. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX

------------------------------------------
Judicial Reform -- Fatigue and Frustration
------------------------------------------

3. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX said the monitors raised key issues with
the GOB such as the appointment procedure for top judicial
officials, vote buying, and progress in organized crime and
high-level corruption cases. XXXXXXXXXXXX called the
appointment/nomination procedure for the top judicial
officials "non-transparent" because the vote on the nominees
is secret and does not take into full account disciplinary
actions against the nominees. Furthermore, the process lacks
real debate among the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) members
on the nominees' qualifications and does not allow the
members to release "opinions" on why they voted for or
against a nominee. The non-transparent procedure permits the
selection of corrupt and/or incompetent judges and
prosecutors to the higher courts, perpetuating the cycle of
incompetence and corruption in the Bulgarian judiciary.
XXXXXXXXXXXX said the entire team believes the Bulgarians only
address issues in the Commission's report to get a "good
report," not to create a better judicial system. For
example, Prosecutor General Boris Velchev asked if his
nomination of a certain person for a position in the
prosecutor's office would be recorded negatively in the
upcoming Commission report. They replied to Velchev that if
he thinks the nomination would be reported negatively, then
it is a "good sign that it probably would be." XXXXXXXXXXXX
added that Velchev often asks how he is perceived in Brussels
when they discuss reforms in the prosecution service.
Another example is that Sofia City Court has two courtrooms
specifically available for hearing EU funds fraud cases,
while available courtrooms for other cases are hard to come
by.

4. (C) The Bulgarian government -- especially PG Velchev
and European Minister Passy -- are lobbying heavily for a
positive monitoring report, magnifying modest progress. The
government keeps presenting the Commission a list of on-going
high profile organized crime and corruption court cases (the
number has grown from 30 to 52 over the last two and a half
years) as "successes." Incredibly, several of the "success"
cases have been suspended. Several other cases, against
notorious shady businessmen Angel Khristov and Plamen Galev
AKA the Galevi brothers, and others can hardly be called

SOFIA 00000325 002 OF 002


successes as these defendants gained immunity by running for
parliament. XXXXXXXXXXXX said the team found this "loophole"
quite disturbing, along with how some Bulgarian officials
vehemently defend the law that permits this phenomenon.
Along with the "Galevization" of politics (referring to the
Galevi brothers election campaign), Brussels is also
concerned with vote buying and general election fraud.


------------------------
Only Sticks Seem to Work
------------------------

5. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX told us that the Commission feels they have
"tried everything" to make the Bulgarians reform their
judicial system, but concluded "how do you make them reform
when they do not want to?" The government's defensive
arrogance -- and lack of political will -- is intensifying
enlargement fatigue in Brussels. He underscored that EC
pressure via the monitoring reports and withholding EU funds
are the only ways to produce results. He confirmed media
reports that Dutch Minister of European Affairs Franz
Timmermans requested the Commission to consider activating
the safeguard clause against Bulgaria and Romania when the EC
releases both reports. (Activating the safeguard clause in
Justice and Home Affairs would mean that the European Union
would not recognize Bulgaria's legal decisions and exclude
Bulgaria from legal and police cooperation.) XXXXXXXXXXXX said
currently only The Netherlands is demanding the safeguard
clause, but others are increasingly fed-up with Bulgaria (and
Romania's) lack of progress. There is talk within the
Commission about extending the Monitoring and Verification
Mechanism beyond the three years stated in Bulgaria's and
Romania's EU Accession Acquis. Sweden, which holds the next
EU presidency, favors extending the monitoring mechanism and
is committed to pursue "rule of law issues" in both countries.

6. (C) The report's release date hinges on EU internal
political maneuvering for the formation and nomination of
the new Commission and the election of its next president --
a process that begins in July. XXXXXXXXXXXX told us that the
team is preparing the report to be released the last week of
July, but it may be published the second half of September if
the new Commission formation is drawn out. The team's report
will be critical, saying overall reform has stopped, but
likely the final EC report will be "watered down" as in the
past for political reasons.

7. (C) COMMENT: XXXXXXXXXXXX's frustration with the Bulgarian
government's lame and insincere reform efforts was striking.
It appears to be spreading in Brussels where at least the
working level appears to be feeling "buyers remorse" over
letting Bulgaria and Romania into the club too early.
According to reliable contacts, Brussels Eurocrats have
dubbed enlargement fatigue the "Bulgarian Break," further
tarnishing Bulgaria's bad image within the EU (REFTEL A).
END COMMENT.
McEldowney
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