"Southeast Europe is coming back into the European mainstream. The region is shedding its long-standing image as Europe's 'powder keg'. A return to the dark days of conflict is ever more implausible"..."(The) progress must continue...the countries must continue to build democracy, to root out crime and corruption, and to establish the rule of law".Lord George RobertsonLord George Robertson at the international conference "Shaping a Common Security Agenda for SEE", 5-6 Sept., Sofia
"The main problem with anti-corruption efforts in a transition environment is the lack of sustainability of political commitment. Sensible policies and relevant institutions often fail because of volatile government will. The United Nations Convention could be particularly helpful in providing a mechanism for technical assistance in areas where reformist governments need external support."Dr. Ognian Shentov, UNODC Update, December 2003
"Coalition 2000 is certainly contributing to raise the awareness and to restrict corruption in the Bulgarian society through a very widespread partnership between state institutions, non governmental organizations and individuals. The Corruption Assessment Report reflects and matches the increasing concern and awareness of the Bulgarian society in facing corruption through an approach based on a balanced and realistic view on the situation."Jose Lopez-Jorrin, Ambassador of Spain to Bulgaria, at the Sixth Anti-Corruption Policy Forum of Coalition 2000
"Security and stability in South East Europe is challenged by organised crime, corruption, illegal migration, human trafficking and the unlawful trade in small arms. These activities have the potential to weaken governments. They are a ball and chain around the ankle of progress. And they tarnish the image of some parts of South East Europe. I acknowledge that a number of measures are being taken to address these challenges. But even more needs to be done. It is essential that the rule of law be strengthened. The police forces must be made more accountable and the judiciary must be seen to be both robust and independent. And border security must be improved."Ambassador Alessandro Minuto Rizzo, NATO Deputy Secretary General at the Second Annual Security Conference, 29-30 Oct., 2004
"I would like to recall that Bulgaria is at a turning point on its way towards accession and that significant and visible progress has to be delivered without delay. Bulgaria needs to demonstrate that it is sharing the values of the EU. In order to achieve in particular the reforms in the judicial system, Bulgaria needs cross party unity and a clear and long-term vision of how one of the corner stone of the democracy should function. Reforming the pre-trial phase in line with EU requirements will require hard work in a short period of time. It will be crucial in this respect that corporatist interests be overcome.
But I am confident that you will succeed as it is indeed our shared ambition to ensure Bulgaria’s accession to the EU as a full-fledged Member State in January 2007."Jonathan Faull, Director General of DG Justice, Freedom and Security at the International Conference Bulgarian Judiciary in the EU Accession Process: Reforming the Investigation and the Prosecution, April 8-9, 2005, Sofia
"Clearly, NATO cannot do everything and clearly NATO cannot be everywhere but in a strategic way we can pick out times and we can pick our spots and we can make a difference. So does transformation that is ongoing needs to be well financed, needs to be adhere too, agreements need to be lived up to and we can in fact transform this alliance in such a way that in the 21st century it can make a great difference in our collective security. It can make a great difference by being more proactive, reactive and agile across the spectrum of operations."Gen. James Jones, SACEUR, at the Third CSD Annual Security Conference, 19-20 November, 2005, Sofia
The fight against this type of fraud (cigarette smuggling) is a shared responsibility. It requires urgent and streamlined action at all levels, i.e. from the Commission, the Member States and the neighbouring countries. I would therefore like to thank the Bulgarian Customs Agency and the Center for the Study of Democracy for having taken the initiative to organise this conference. It is very timely and I am convinced that it will contribute to strengthening our cooperation and building strong relationships to jointly tackle the problem of cigarette smuggling.Mr. Kristian Vangrieken, Head of Unit, European Commission, Taxation and Customs Union Directorate General, International coordination - Enlargement & neighbouring countries during the international conference Countering Cigarette Smuggling in the Balkans, 2 and 3 June 2011.
The crisis has put focus on the instability of the public sector. It is estimated that 120 billion euro are lost each year to corruption in the EU member states. If we talk about public procurement that indicator is 20-25% of the contracts signed. Cross-border cooperation is needed to fight crimes at EU and national level. The EU Anti Corruption package is a step forward.Maria ÅseniusMs. Maria Åsenius, Head of Cabinet Commissioner Malmström, DG Home Affairs at the Regional Workshop: EU Anti Corruption Report, Sofia, 10-11 December 2012., Sofia
I am glad that the workshop was a success and that the officers from Romania and Bulgaria found it useful in developing their skills to fight corruption and organised crime. Work such as this in an international arena continues to grow in importance and we consider it vital for successful operations, particularly in the area of corruption.Trevor Pearce, Director General, Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), UK, commenting on the international workshop "The experience of European police anti-corruption units: Austria, Belgium and the UK", organised by CSD (letter of 2 April 2013)
"I would like to congratulate the organisers of this event for their laborious effort that allowed them to gather here leading figures of the European legal practice to speak and discuss on such an important and modern-day issue as the risks and impacts that fraud and corruption create on public procurement all over our continent. … It is widely acknowledged that corruption has the natural power to continuously change its characteristics. Over the last few decades, its presence has increased in public administration becoming a source of serious and systematic loss to public budgets. And it is also true that few activities create greater temptations or offer more opportunities for bribery and extortion than public sector procurement."Mr. Nikolas Kanellopoulos, Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights in Greece at the International Seminar: EU Financial Interests under Threat: New Approaches in Assessing the Risks from Public Procurement and EU Funds Fraud, 31 October – 1 November 2013