Status on the implementation of the Urgent Reform Priorities

Urgent reform priorities current status Last change: January 31 2020


Not implemented or the implemented measures are contrary to the priority
The implemented measures are not directed at the fulfilment of the priority

1. Rule of Law and Judiciary

A. Judiciary

De-politicize the appointment and promotion of judges and prosecutors, in practice not only in theory, on the basis of transparent, objective and strictly merit-based criteria, applied by transparent and open procedure.   
Put in place a harmonised performance management system based on qualitative as well as quantitative standards, as a basis for all career decisions.   
Remove elements of the discipline and dismissal system for judges, which currently interfere with judicial independence, both in legislation and practice.   
Ensure the professionalism of the Judicial Council, in practice not only in theory (i.e. clear and foreseeable test for the application of the statutory requirement of "distinguished lawyer").   
Ensure more pro-active role played by Judicial Council and highest courts, to protect judges from interference on their independence (both through improved communication strategies and through decisive action on complaints of interference or pressure).   
Improve training quality, budget and autonomy of the Academy for judges and Prosecutors (and encourage secondments of national judges to the ECtHR).   
Ensure publication of all court rulings within the clear deadlines imposed by law (and ensure full "searchability" and ease of access).   
Develop a track record on overall length of proceedings, with special focus on "old cases".   
Ensure speedy execution of all ECtHR judgments against the country (in particular by developing practical end effective measures for each category of cases).   

B. Functioning judicial and parliamentary oversight of interception of communications

Ensure clearer separation of the mandates and regulations concerning interception of communications for criminal investigation, on the one hand, and for security purposes on the other.   
Remove the UBK's intermediary function as "gatekeeper" for interception activities of the law enforcement agencies (police, customs, financial police).   
Remove the UBK's direct access to technical equipment allowing the mirroring of the telecoms providers' communication signal (ie. complete removal of the UBK's practical and technical capability to capture communications directly).   
Clarify in law and in practice that telecoms providers activate and divert signals to the competent law enforcement agencies (Police, Customs Administration and Financial Police) or the security agencies (the Security and Counterintelligence Service (UBK), the Intelligence Agency, and the Ministry of Defence's military security and intelligence service) only upon prior receipt of the relevant court order, and only for the purposes of lawful interceptions.   
Introduce risk management tools to guide and lead all intelligence operations, as well as reinforced data security and storage.   
Ensure appropriate training of staff on data protection, fundamental rights, professional ethics and integrity.   
Ensure immediate and regular convening of the relevant Parliamentary Committees on interception of communications and on security and counterintelligence, and their smooth operation.   
Ensure these Committee's compliance with their statutory reporting duties as well as their ability to obtain without hindrance the necessary data, testimonies, technical assistance and access, necessary to produce those reports.   

C. Independent regulatory, control and oversight bodies

Ensure sufficient autonomy of independent regulatory, supervisory and oversight bodies, not only in theory but in practice, in order to act effectively and free from political pressure. This requires not only pro-active efforts from the bodies themselves but the political will of all other actors to allow them to carry out their functions as intended by law, including through allocation of sufficient financial means.   
Ensure that membership of independent regulatory bodies is based on professional competence, professional experience relevant to the field and comparative merit.   
Ensure that recommendations of the Ombudsman's office and other advisory bodies are followed up by all state bodies in full respect for the law and for the principle of accountability.   
Ensure effective legal sanctions for non-compliance with the requests and recommendations of independent bodies.   
Ensure that the Office of the Ombudsman Law is amended to comply fully with the Paris principles.   

D. Anti-corruption policies and legislation

Establish a credible track record on high-level corruption, in particular ensuring that all law enforcement and supervisory bodies have sufficient autonomy to act independently in line with the law (the credibility of the current track record suffers from the absence of a number of high-profile casesfrom recent years).   
Overall fight against corruption needs to be reinforced.   
Improve scrutiny of conflict of interest and assets of elected and appointed officials by establishing a central register of such officials.   
Work with GRECO experts to establish a new, comprehensive whistleblowing protection mechanism in line with latest Council of Europe recommendations and best European practices.   

E. Lustration

Address the serious shortcomings and revise / repeal of the Law on Lustration and its implementation (in particular with reference to the Venice Commission's amicus curiae brief) as regards e.g. temporal limits; safeguards against political, ideological or party reasons used as grounds for lustration; exclusion of persons in private or semi-private positions and stronger safeguards protecting the identity of subjects until final court decision.   

2. Depolitisation of the public administration

Implement rigorously the new legal framework, Law on Administrative Servants and Law on Public Employees, fully observing the principles of transparency, merit and equitable representation   
Employment policies need to follow the principles of transparency, merit and equitable representation in the public service through of open procedures There should be no further employments not respecting the rules.   
Impose a moratorium on implementation of the Law on Transformation of Temporary Positions into Permanent Contracts until the principle of merit is fully observed in the transformation process.    
Provide figures for the total number of public service employees in all government ministries, agencies and other bodies, broken down by sectors   

3. Electoral reform

Finalise the electoral reform in line with OSCE/ODIHR and Venice Commission recommendations, including increasing the scope and possibilities to file complaints and appeals, ensuring sufficient separation between State and political party activities and ensuring a bipartisan approach of electoral bodies on all levels.   
Conduct an audit of the Voters' List, in line with OSCE/ODIHR recommendations assessing the accuracy and completeness of voter data in particular as regards possible duplicate voters; voters registered separately with ID card and passport details; and addresses with large numbers of registered voters, Identify areas of potential improvement in voter data accuracy. Revise and improve accuracy of voters' list accordingly.   

4. Implementation of the recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry into the events of 24 December

Implement the recommendations of the 2013 Committee of Inquiry as regards the better functioning of parliament and the scheduling of its work.    

5. Media: Freedom of expression

A. Public Service Broadcaster

Provide tangible evidence of ongoing policy, organisational, training and editorial reforms within the Public Broadcaster aiming at addressing criticisms made regularly in the past about its lack of political independence, and lack of balanced reporting, as well as to provide informative, high-quality content.   

B) Government advertising

Establish stringent rules on government advertising based on transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criteria.   
Ensure full transparency on government advertising (not only on the spending of public finances but also on its recipients and contents).   
Develop a mechanism for unpaid public service announcements of a true public interest character   

C) Access to Information

Address the main obstacles which journalists face in obtaining public information (e.g. the failure of relevant bodies to respond at all to many requests for information, the unjustified over-use of the "classified" category for documents not of that nature).   

D) Defamation

Revising the legislation to remove "honour", "dignity" and "offence"-type cases, most of which are raised under the statutory definition of insult and which fall outside scope of defamation in the sense of Article 10 ECHR.   
Revising the procedural rules to exclude petty cases and instead increase the use of mediation to resolve these cases   
Support and promote greater use of self-regulation as alternative to court action.   
Guarantee and enforce, at political level, the exercising of appropriate self-restraint by politicians and public officials not to resort to defamation actions, in line with ECtHR principles.