French ambassador: Investors in Bulgaria have problems communicating with administration

French investors in Bulgaria have problems in communicating with government departments, especially regarding applications for European programmes, France’s ambassador in Sofia, Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes, said at a meeting with the country’s economy minister.

At the December 11 meeting with Bulgarian Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski, the French ambassador also reiterated his concerns about pressure on the judiciary, some days after the envoy’s comments on “rotten apples” in the judiciary returned the issue to national prominence.

The ambassador’s “rotten apples” comment, in a December 5 television interview, was prompted by the judge’s handling of a bankruptcy case of a French company’s Bulgarian subsidiaries and the suspension of their boards, where the company alleges that the matter was dealt with incorrectly.

Judge Roumyana Chenalova, who denies wrongdoing, became the subject of an ethics committee investigation by the Supreme Judicial Council.

The case also has highlighted shortcomings in the system of “random” distribution of cases to judges for hearing, with an investigation resulting in recommendations to fix the system.

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