SOFIA, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Bulgarian non-governmental organisations on Wednesday presented an action plan to fight corruption in the country and to reduce public tolerance of corrupt practices.
The plan, presented at a special conference by a grouping of non-governmental organisations called Coalition 2000, involves attempts to measure, control and punish corruption.
The Coalition will try to measure the problem through opinion surveys. Previous surveys showed that a majority of Bulgarians perceived corruption as an effective tool for solving personal problems.
The group will also press the Bulgarian government to improve controls against corruption and to stiffen penalities for those found guilty of corrupt practices.
The centre-right government of the Union of Democratic Forces, which came to power in Bulgaria last year, has endorsed the initiative.
The country's deputy prime minister, Alexander Bozhkov, who attended Wednesday's conference, attributed spreading corruption to a lack of moral values in post-communist societies. The fall of communism was perceived by many as a get-rich-quick scheme, he added.
``We all were raised in a society of double standards...the path from lying to stealing is not that long,'' Bozhkov said.
Reducing the role of the state through quick privatisation would be one effective way to curb corruption, he said.
Coalition 2000, which seeks to include government officials, parliamentarians, trade unions and private firms in its battle, proposes to act as a watchdog over Bulgaria's reform process.
``The population's attitude towards corruption in Bulgaria may be far too accepting...to permit a sustained anti-corruption effort,'' said USAID Mission Director John Tennant, whose agency is one of the sponsors of the initiative.
``Governments are unlikely to follow through on anti-corruption reforms, once they enter a politically difficult terrain,'' Tennant told the conference.
Graft and a shadow economy have mushroomed under weak governments which followed the collapse of the communist regime in Bulgaria in 1989, and during the wars in neighbouring former Yugoslavia.
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