EC takes Bulgaria to court over broadband costs reduction directive

The European Commission said on January 25 that it is taking Bulgaria to the EU Court of Justice over the country’s continued delay in transposing the broadband cost reduction directive. The EC also stepped up infringement proceedings in three other ongoing cases and opened a new one against Bulgaria.

EU’s directive on reducing broadband costs, 2014/61/EU, aims to provide incentives for co-operation across sectors – including energy and water infrastructure – in order to ease the roll-out of new broadband networks, where civil engineering accounts for up to 80 per cent of costs, the EC said.

Bulgaria was yet to notify the EC of the measures it took to transpose the directive fully into national law, despite being subject to infringement proceedings since March 2016. The Commission asked the Court to impose a financial penalty of 22 226.40 euro a day on Bulgaria.

In three other cases, the Commission sent Bulgaria reasoned opinions, the second stage of infringement proceedings.

The EC asked the country to correctly implement the electricity and gas directives that are part of the Third Energy Package, arguing that Sofia had incorrectly transposed several unbundling requirements, as well as the rules on connection to the network, where it had wrongfully allowed the gas transmission system operator to refuse connection on the basis of lack of system capacity.

In another case, Bulgaria was one of 12 member states asked to fully implement the revised directive on markets in financial instruments, meant to forge more transparent, competitive and integrated EU financial markets, as well as one of 11 member states asked to fully implement a delegated directive with regard to safeguarding of financial instruments and funds belonging to clients.

The third reason opinion regards the implementation of EU legislation on the right of access to a lawyer, which Bulgaria was required to implement by November 2016. “To this day, Bulgaria has still not notified the Commission of any national rules which implement this EU law,” the EC said.

Finally, the Commission also opened a new infringement case with a letter of formal notice, asking Bulgaria to cancel the national framework on geographical indications, arguing that its Trademark and Geographical Indication Act of 1999 was not compatible with EU rules on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs.

“Bulgaria should have put an end to this national registration system from the date of the accession to the EU in 2007 and could only have protected existing national geographical indications for 12 months after the date of accession if an application at EU level had been done during this limited period,” the EC said.

(Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)



The Sofia Globe staff

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