The Law on Fuel, which entry into force has been postponed, is an example of how MPs circumvent the requirements of the regulatory reform in Bulgaria, including the obligatory impact assessment and the public consultation, which was launched back in 2016. This was stated in the “12 + 3” programme of the Bulgarian National Radio, by Tony Dimov from the Center for Regulatory Impact Assessment. The Center published an annual monitoring report on the observance of the mandatory impact assessment and public consultations for proposals and adoption of new laws and regulations.
Dimov said that for the period 2017-2018, the problems in this regard have deepened and the National Assembly is treated like a ‘fast track” for the adoption of laws that would have an unclear effect on society.
“One of the common practices is а paradox: an MP, in order to give importance to his/her draft proposal, says that it would affect the entire nation and then submits the draft law with just one page claiming: “There will be no impact”. Other practices include cheating and peeping like students. Also impact assessments are issued on a conveyer principle, only the name of the bill is changed. The phenomenon of copy-paste is still widely spread. “We were patient enough during the first year of introduction of the regulatory reform, when mistakes were expected.” Dimov said.
“These new phenomena point to a next level of ingenuity in evading the law as for examlpe the Phenomenon “0 + 1 = 2”. The impact assessment requires firstly to consider the zero option, “no action”, and to compare the possible future effects of the proposed regulatory interventions with it. How would social relations develop if we left them like they are and how – if we interfered? According to the good practice, at least two other options, besides the zero one, should be considered. The Bulgarian MP considers only the zero option and one more to reinforce the importance of regulating”, the legal expert said, emphasizing that the “zero option” should be considered as a priority, due to the abundance of regulations in Bulgarian legislation.
“The National Assembly is treated like a fast track, like the loophole of the system, like the place where proposals can be passed fast when there is no time for inter-governmental concurrence procedure within the Council of Ministers and for public consultations. Why does the National Assembly not conduct public consultations when the law obligates it? Because of speed. Members of Parliament have no time to listen to their voters”, Dimov said.
He added that the Law on Fuel has created “an unimaginable absurdity in the legal system” The proposals for its amendments were made without any discussion and according to its impact assessment no small and medium enterprises would be affected and there would not be additional administrative burden imposed. After this turned out to be untrue but the Law had already entered into force, options for its postponement through a delay of the introduction of the secondary legislation to the law started to be considered. According to Dimov, institutions still do not understand the importance of mandatory impact assessment and public consultations of draft laws.