CABINET AND PARLIAMENT ENDANGER BULGARIA'S NEGOTIATIONS WITH EU
All ministries and the Parliament seem totally negligent about the commitments taken by the rulers for implementation of the strategy for acceleration of the negotiations with the European Union (EU). This is proven by a special report, approved by the Council of Ministers on July 31. Besides, the ministers voted for a new plan of commitments by the end of 2003. However, their decision will hardly be useful as the country has fallen too much behind the current schedule. Not for the first time, Meglena Kuneva, Bulgaria's chief negotiator with the EU, blamed the negligence of both ministries and Parliament. The Minister of European Affairs said at a press conference that she was disappointed by the fact that the National Assembly had failed to adopt amendments to the Public Procurement Act and the Act on the State Official before the its summer recess. A check-up with the strategy texts showed that these amendments should had been voted in the end of 2002.The sluggishness of Bulgarian office workers is about to create serious problems with some of the temporarily closed chapters.The reason is that Bulgaria failed to adopt many admisistrative procedures that it had promised to approve. The Free Movement of Goods Section has been delayed most, Minister Kuneva said. 78 regulations should be adopted in this sector. There are serious problems with the regulations of the technical requirements for motor vehicles. There are 57 regulations that have to be passed in this field. Just five of them refer to the Agriculture chapter and they will introduce European standards for the tractors used by Bulgarian farmers. The Ministry of Agriculture headed by Mehmed Dikme will have to prepare 24 regulations. The Parliament has forgotten to make corrections to the law on insurance and gambling which are important for the negotiations on the Free Movement of Goods chapter.Several regulations should be added to the recently adopted Currency Act over the next few months. By the end of 2003, the fiscal payment service (known as tax police) should have started operations with the Ministry of Finance. Eventually, what Bulgarian ministries should do is sit down and read the strategy for acceleration of the negotiations with the EU. Moreover, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is already applying an automated system that monitors how the tasks are fulfilled.