Who is afraid of a law on lobbying?31 December 2014
59% of Bulgarians believe that their government is run by a few big entities which are acting in favour of their own interests, according to the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, a study by Transparency International. This shows that shadow governance and undue lobbying pressure are becoming “business as usual” in Bulgaria – the typical mode of operation of the political process. The perception that a significant part of legislation and appointment decisions are subjected to lobbying pressure is so strong that lobbying is now used in Bulgaria as synonymous to all that remains hidden, non-public, behind the curtains – even corruption, mafia, oligarchy.
Several attempts have been made in the past 15 years to adopt a law on lobbying in Bulgaria. After the mass civil protests of 2013 it now seems that there is sufficient civil society leverage accumulated to renew the debate on lobbying regulation. This debate should also touch upon the need to redefine the systems for conflict of interest prevention, counteracting crimes such as trading in influence, transparency of political financing, access to public information, business self-regulation, the rules for public consultation of legislation and policies. The debate on lobbying in Bulgaria should commence now and it should commence with transparency.
The full text of the article by Linka Toneva-Metodieva, Program coordinator at Transparency International-Bulgaria has been published in “Capital” daily and can be accessed here: