National Report“Lobbying in Bulgaria: Interests, Influence, Politics”9 February 2015
Lobbying in Bulgaria remains largely unregulated and much of it happens behind closed doors and beyond public scrutiny, shows a new study by Transparency International Bulgaria, the national chapter of Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption.
The report “Lobbying in Bulgaria: Interests, Influence, Politics” shows that there are significant deficits in the transparency, integrity and equality of access regarding the influence over public decision-making in the country. Following a methodology, elaborated by Transparency International and implemented in 19 EU countries under the framework of the “Lifting the Lid on Lobbying” project, Bulgaria receives a paltry score of only 25% overall.
The performance of the country is alarmingly low on each of the study’s three indicators – transparency (13%), integrity (25%) and equality of access (38%).
Alongside an assessment of the existing lobbying regulations, policies and practices in the country, the study also compiles evidence about corruption risks related to a lack of lobbying control and provides recommendations and solutions for decision-makers and interest representatives in the public and private sector.
To ensure the lobbying practices in Bulgaria are safe-guarded from undue influence, Transparency International Bulgaria recommends that the National Assembly and the government implement the necessary legal and procedural instruments to support transparent and ethical lobbying.
In particular, Transparency International Bulgaria calls for a legislative footprint tool, which provides detailed information on who sought to influence legislation, what piece of legislation was targeted and by which channels influence was sought; a Public Registry of all organisations that submit written opinions on draft bills to the parliamentary committees and the adoption; a parliamentary Code of Ethicsto ensure integrity in the process of drafting laws and including input from interest groups; facilitation of open and accessiblepublic consultations through publishing of an annual legislative programme of the National Assembly, publishing of preliminary concepts on the need for and expected effect of the legislative act, and publishing of transcripts of the public consultations along with each draft legislative act.