Bulgaria commits to ensuring citizens are able to report incidents of corruption without fear of reprisal and with confidence that any credible information they provide will be acted on and their identity protected when necessary. Bulgaria’s Draft Corruption Prevention and Confiscation of Criminal Assets Act has detailed provisions regarding the credibility and admissibility of anonymous signals aiming to encourage citizens to report corruption while protecting their identities.
Themes: Whistleblower/civil society space protection
Last updated: December 2020
Concrete: Concrete | New: New | Ambitious: Ambitious
EU Whistleblowing Meter - Bulgaria - Transposition of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing:
Prevention of Corruption and Forfeiture of Illegal Assets Act
Whistleblower protection in the EU: Commission welcomes adoption by the Council
EU whistleblower protection boosted by MEPs
Whistleblower protection to be boosted under new EU directive
Both during the emergency state (until May 14, 2020) and in the following months, the working group has been operating form distance. The authorities elaborated a preliminary impact assessment of the current legal framework to find out which pieces of legislation are likely to be affected by the transposition. Currently there is an on-going discussion among the members of the working group on how the transposition should happen - with adoption of a separate dedicated law or through amendments to the existing relevant legislation. In any case, the provisions should regulate the reporting mechanisms, the rights of employees, the obligations of the competent authorities to process the received reports, the measures for protection and support of whistleblowers, including such in the course of judicial and administrative proceedings. Although the expert-level administration has accepted TI-Bulgaria position for involvement of a broad range of stakeholders in the legislation process, there is no evidence that the recommendation has been taken on board at the political level. The employers’ associations, syndicates, branch business organisations as well as civil society organisations working on the protection of whistleblowers, continue being underrepresented in the working group.
Updated: October 31, 2020
The recently adopted EU Whistle-blowing Directive imposes over all Member States governments the obligation of providing safe channels for reporting and measures for protection of whistle-blowers until December 2021. The Bulgarian authorities set up a working group involving executive officials and magistrates to prepare draft national legislation transposing the provisions of the Directive. In fact, following the formal adoption of the Directive by the EU Council on 7 October 2019, a two-year implementation period begins during which time the EU Member States will be obliged to implement the Directive into their own national laws. Non-governmental organisations, working on anti-corruption and good governance issues will be invited to oversee the work of the group. Transparency International Bulgaria has been invited to participate in the consultation process. A preliminary meeting took place in early March, and they then announced that an ordinance would follow shortly. However, the formal ordinance for the setting of the working group is yet to be issued because a couple of days after the preliminary meeting, the Parliament voted the emergency state and the authorities switched their efforts to tackling the Covid-19 crisis.
Updated: April 30, 2020
As mentioned earlier, the protection of persons reporting corruption and other irregularities reappeared in the public discourse in the last year. It mainly happened due to external factors - the procedures supplementing adoption of the EU directive and TI-Bulgaria advocacy in that regard. The Bulgarian government was among the first to support civil society's position on providing individuals with free choice to decide on using internal or external channels for reporting (see Document ST_5747_2019_ADD_1, p.5). Separate public authorities support our solicitation for early preparation of the transposition, however, there is no clear political will at national level.
Updated: October 30, 2019
The EU directive will boost whistleblower protection- "Under the new directive, Member States will be compelled to establish safe reporting channels both within organisations and directly to public authorities; while national governments will be expected to provide citizens and public officials with the necessary information and training to deal appropriately with incidences of whistleblowing. ....The directive on whistleblower protection will be published in the official journal of the Council of the EU; after which Member States will have two years to integrate its components into their own national laws." (Government Europa, October 2019)
Peer reviewer: 1
Updated: October 30, 2019
Due to TI-Bulgaria advocacy activities during the 2018 year and in view of the soon expected adoption of EU legislation for whistleblowers' protection, the topic reappeared in the public discourse. However, no specific activity has been started by March 2019.
Updated: May 30, 2019
Updated: October 30, 2018
In early 2018 the new anti-corruption law (Prevention of Corruption and Forfeiture of Illegal Assets Act) has been adopted. Although in the first draft (2016) there were provisions regarding anonymous reporting, these were later abandoned and the current law provides for processing of signed complaints only(chapter six). Further, the law focuses over the prevention of corrupt behaviour and conflict of interest among high public officials and requires the compliants to provide evidence in support to their claims. Thus in practice there is no effective mechanism for reporting of wrongdoing by average citizens or lower-level staff. Provisions for protection of whistleblowers from potential reprisal are too vague and compensation might be received in a lawsuit under general regime. Generally speaking, the issue lacks in public communication at all.
Updated: June 30, 2018