The European Commission said on December 7 that it decided to refer Bulgaria to the EU Court of Justice for “failure to notify complete transposition of EU rules” for two separate cases dealing with the digital single market and integrated maritime policy, while at the same time stepping up infringement proceedings concerning the transposition of an anti-money laundering directive.
Bulgaria was one of four EU countries, alongside Luxembourg, Romania and Spain, that failed to pass laws fully implementing EU regulations on collective management of copyright and related rights, and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online use.
The Commission was asking the court to impose financial penalties – a fine of 19 121.6 euro a day – for failing to transpose the Collective Rights Management Directive, which aims at improving the way all collective management organisations are managed by establishing common governance, transparency and financial management standards.
Concerning maritime policy, Bulgaria (alongside Finland and Greece), had failed to notify the EC of the measures it undertook to adopt EU rules on establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning, which works across the borders of EU states to ensure human activities at sea take place in an efficient, safe and sustainable way. In this case, the EC was asking the court to impose a daily fine of 14 089.6 euro.
As regards the anti-money laundering directive, the Commission said that Bulgaria was one of eight EU member states that have failed to report any measures undertaken to transpose the directive, the goal of which is to strengthen the existing anti-money laundering requirements and improve the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. The deadline for doing so was June 26.
“After giving these eight countries the opportunity to submit their observations in reply to its letters of formal notice sent in July 2017, the Commission is now urging these countries to take the necessary measures to fully comply with the directive. If these member states fail to bring their national legislation into line with EU law within next two months, the Commission may decide to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the EU,” the EC said.
The EC’s December infringements package, however, was not all bad news for Bulgaria, as the Commission also noted that it closed two pending infringement cases against Bulgaria after the country complied with requests to fully transpose transparency rules for the exchange of tax rulings and, separately, rules for the automatic exchange of tax information country by country.
(General view of the buildings of the Court of Justice of the European Communities)