EUROPEAN UNION IS IMPATIENT ABOUT THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE
What's going on with the new Criminal Procedure Code? This question initiates every meeting and every telephone conversation between the retired Minister of European Affairs Meglena Kouneva and representatives of the European Commission Enlargement General Direction, Mrs. Kouneva said at a press conference held on August 9. The conference followed the ordinary meeting of the Council for Coordination and Monitoring dedicated to Bulgaria's membership into the European Union (EU). The body analyses the speed with which the country fulfils the commitments it made in the course of its negotiations with the EU.According to minister Kouneva, the national administration is working with a speed close to normal, despite the absence of a new government and a stable parliamentary majority. The state departments even prepared a schedule for overcoming the delay on five negotiation chapters because of which the Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn warned the country in early June.The participants in the meeting of the monitoring body almost reinvented the wheel by finding out that in order to eliminate all obstacles, the new Criminal Procedure Code should be published by the Official Gazette no later than the end of September. In fact, this is the deadline considering that the EC monitoring report which is decisive for Bulgaria will be published on October 25. However, the commissioners need one month at least to analyse the information provided by the country calmly.It is not quite clear yet whether or not the members of the 40th National Assembly will manage to vote the draft texts of the new Criminal Procedure Code approved by the government of the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII) in late May. The document is voluminous - there are more than 400 articles in it. The fact that the political forces and the magistrates are not unanimous on whether or not the investigation service should be closed down is a different question.Apart from the Criminal Procedure Code, the list of draft laws with priority importance for Bulgaria's integration into the EU includes about 30 amendments or brand new regulations. The most important among them are the Veterinary Medical Activities Act, the Biological Variety Act and the Professional Education and Training Act. The members of the parliament will have to speed up the voting of the Legal Assistance Act, the Bulgarian Identity Documents Act, as well as the act regulating the production and trade with optical discs. Cosmetic amendments should be made to the Labour Act and the Private Data Act. Experts in Brussels also expect that the Bulgarian parliament adopt amendments to the Gambling Act as well as to regulations on the doctors' and dentists' professional organisations.