Bulgaria's president calls to fight high-level corruption

President Georgi Parvanov on Monday called for the establishment of an independent office to fight high-level corruption in Bulgaria, and, in a gesture of transparency, he made public details on his own income and property. The president's remarks were directed at the European Union, which days earlier delayed until October a decision on whether Bulgaria would be ready to join the EU in January 2007. The EU's executive office cited corruption and organized crime as the main obstacles for the country.

The European Commission report released May 16 called on Sofia to show clear results in six of 145 monitored areas, including justice and home affairs. Parvanov urged bolder and quicker action and called for more transparency in the funding of political parties and on the wealth of politicians and government officials.

He also said an independent bureau to fight high-level corruption should be set up. "I insist on an anti-corruption unit, independent from the government," he said. "No one should be untouchable, neither in the government, nor in Parliament." Parvanov called for more leaders of organized crime to be brought to trial and said authorities should take action to choke off their financial resources. He cautioned that this should be done without violating human rights or igniting a witch hunt, reports the AP.

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