The European Commission said on September 29 that it was sending Bulgaria reasoned opinions, the second stage of infringement proceedings, asking Sofia to comply with EU regulations concerning water pollution caused by nitrates and the implementation of cost reduction rules that will help deploy more broadband.
Regarding nitrates water pollution, the EC opened the infringement proceeding against Bulgaria in March 2014, after identifying a number of shortcomings in the country’s Nitrates Action Programme, as required under the EU rules on nitrates.
“Although Bulgaria has now addressed a number of issues following the modification of the Nitrates Action Programme in June 2016, the country still fails to comply with key provisions, such as the land application of fertilisers and the usage limit of 170 kg N/ha/year for livestock manure,” the Commission said.
On broadband cost reduction rules, Bulgaria was one 19 member states to receive a reasoned opinion, which comes on the heels of a letter of formal notice sent to member states in March 2016, asking them to transpose Directive 2014/61/EU.
Cost reduction rules support the strategic connectivity objectives that the European Commission has recently proposed as part of its efforts to create a digital single market. The Commission’s proposal envisions that by 2025, all main socio-economic drivers – schools, universities, research centres, transport hubs, all providers of public services such as hospitals and administrations, and enterprises relying on digital technologies – should have access to extremely high connectivity, allowing users to download/upload 1 gigabit of data per second. As an interim target, 5G should be commercially available in at least one major city in each EU member state by 2020.
Should Bulgaria fail to comply with the reason opinions within two months, the Commission can refer the country to the European Court of Justice.
(European Commission headquarters Berlaymont building photo: JLogan)