The European Court of Justice says that Bulgarian authorities cannot ban the country’s citizens from travelling outside the country within the EU because of unpaid debts.
The pronouncement by the European Court of Justice follows a court action by a man against the Interior Ministry which in April 2007 refused to allow the Bulgarian citizen to leave the country, or to be issued a passport or other travel documents, because of unpaid debts.
The Interior Ministry had been informed by a private debt collector that the man had unpaid debts of 200 000 leva (about 100 000 euro) to another individual.
The court said that EU law precludes the application of domestic laws which give the right to impose restrictions on freedom of movement within the EU just because someone has an unsecured debt to a third party.
The European Court of Justice said that such restrictions could be imposed on the basis of a decision that the individual posed a clear threat to public order and security. The threat must be shown exclusively in the conduct of the individual concerned. A 2004 European Commission directive expressly prohibits EU member states from imposing such prohibitions citing purely economic considerations, the court said, according to a report by mediapool.
Previously, the EU told Bulgaria that it could not go ahead with its intention to impose restrictions of movement because of unpaid taxes.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)
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