Sofia, Bulgaria – Five Bulgarian municipalities signed the “Municipal Pact for Anti-Corruption” demonstrating their commitment to continuing to fight corruption in Bulgaria.  

The mayors from Gabrovo, Dobrich, Plovdiv, Haskovo, and the secretary of Vidin signed the agreement at the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) second national anti-corruption conference “Combatting Vulnerabilities to Corruption at the Municipal Level,” that was held from February 12-13 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

“We, the undersigned mayors, commit to work within our municipalities for an effective use of the mechanisms and structures to prevent and combat corruption at the municipal level,” reads the Pact.

“Signing the Pact constitutes a clear and strong public commitment by mayors to continue to work for more effective transparency and accountability of local institutions, for increased citizen participation, and for better use of anti-corruption mechanisms and structures at the municipal level,” said Paul McCarthy, Director of Europe for IRI.

The conference was opened by U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in Bulgaria Andrea Brouillette-Rodriguez, Bulgarian Minister of Justice Atanas Slavov, and IRI’s Europe Regional Director Paul McCarthy. 

In her opening address, the Deputy Chief of Mission Andrea Brouillette-Rodriguez defined the signing of the municipal anti-corruption pact as a symbol of the mayors’ commitment to promote transparency and integrity. 

Welcoming the accession of municipalities to the Pact, Minister Slavov said that “Good anti-corruption systems work in prevention before it comes to sanctions. Imposing sanctions is a failure of the anti-corruption system, not a success.”

In a panel discussion, the five mayors discussed best practices and common challenges they face in their efforts to ensure effective transparency and anti-corruption measures at the municipal level. They discussed solutions including improving constituent communication, enhancing trust in local institutions through openness and accessibility, and digitalizing government services. 

This second national conference is part of IRI’s program in Bulgaria, “Combatting Vulnerabilities to Corruption at the Municipal Level,” which is active in 15 municipalities. The first conference took place in 2022, when ten municipalities comprising IRI’s first municipal cohort signed the Pact.  Following in the footsteps of the first ten, the five municipalities of the second cohort will now embark on a process to develop municipal programs and adopt them.

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