On July 1, 2020 a group of MPs from the parliamentary group “United Patriots” (a partner in the ruling coalition) has proposed a package of amendments to the CSO law and to several other laws. The amendments contain the following main proposals:
These proposals happen at a time when numerous representatives of this political coalition (United Patriots) have launched verbal attacks against CSOs e.g. the former Minister of Environment and Waters declared that “natural disasters have caused less damage than environmental activists” while the Minster of Defence has criticized the fact that institutions take into consideration CSO opinions and has called them “structures that call themselves civil society who noone has elected for anything”. In 2019 representatives of the Coalition requested the termination of one of the biggest and oldest human rights organizations - the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee - for being unconstitutional.
There were also a series of previous attempts to limit foreign funding or impose heavier obligations to CSOs. The obligation for CSOs to be equated with officials in high government positions and to publicly declare their income and property was proposed in 2013 but was withdrawn after serious criticism. In 2017, a proposal to limit foreign funding for magistrates associations was introduced in the Judicial Systems Act but was again withdrawn after criticism and pressure from international partners. Another attempt to limit funding for magistrates associations was made in 2019 but was voted down.
With regard to the Civil Society Development Council, after more than 2 years delay, the procedure for its establishment was finally started in February 2020. In May 2020 the results were publicly announced and 14 CSOs were elected as members of the Council after an electronic vote from all public benefit CSOs that have expressed interest to vote. Even prior to the introduction of the proposed amendments, there have been attempts to stop the establishment of the Council by attacking its elected members.
On June 10, 2020 after the results from the voting for Council members were announced, the Commission for Combatting Corruption and Confiscation of Illegally Acquired Property decided to exercise for the first time its power to analyse areas with potential for corruption and propose legislative changes. It issued a statement that the Regulation of the Civil Society Development Council needs to be changed because it does not follow the principles of publicity and transparency and prevention of conflict of interests. This happens at a time when a number of political scandals about high-level corruption take place while the Council, after being established, will decide on the priorities for spending just 1 million BGN (500 000 EUR) planned in the state budget for 2020. Below are several articles that provide more details about the situation:
Photo credit: @indianexpress
 Financial inspections shall be conducted by the financial inspectors of the Agency based on an order issued by the Director of the Agency or by authorised by him/her officials. The order cannot be subject to appeal. Depending on the results of the inspection activities performed the Director of the Agency or authorised by him/her officials shall:
 The Commission for Combatting Corruption and Illegally Acquired Assets shall verify and analyse the information in the declarations of assets and interests as to the veracity of the facts declared. The verification shall be concluded by a report on correspondence, where no difference has been established between the facts declared and the information obtained. Where a difference is established, the Commission shall notify the person concerned and shall allow the said person a 14-day time limit to rectify the deficiencies and errors in the circumstances declared. The deficiencies and errors shall be rectified according to the procedure established for the submission of a declaration. Where a difference is established upon verification of the declarations, the Commission shall publish on the Internet site thereof the conclusions about the persons in respect of whom a lack of correspondence in the declarations has been established and where any such lack of correspondence has not been rectified within the time limit under Paragraph. Where a lack of correspondence amounting to more than BGN 5,000 is established after the expiry of the above-mentioned 14-day time limit, the Commission shall adopt a decision on the transmittal of the verification file to the National Revenue Agency for taking steps according to the procedure established by the Tax and Social-Insurance Code. Where a lack of correspondence amounting to more than BGN 20,000 is established after the expiry of the above-mentioned 14-day time limit, the Commission shall adopt a decision on a check of the assets status of the senior public office holder according to the unlawfully acquired assets forfeiture proceeding.