EC opens two new infringement proceedings against Bulgaria

The European Commission said on September 23 that it opened two infringement procedures against Bulgaria and escalated two existing cases as part of its latest infringements package.

The two new cases where the EC sent letters of formal notice related to rights in criminal proceedings and legal migration. In the first, Bulgaria was one of four member states asked to bring their national legislation in line with EU rules on the right to information in criminal proceedings.

In a statement, the Commission said that some of the measures taken by those countries did not “adequately transpose the directive and fall short of the requirements of the directive.” The EU directive in question, Directive (EU) 2012/13, guarantees that people who face criminal proceedings in the EU are promptly informed of their rights in criminal proceedings, including accusations, access to lawyer or free legal advice.

In the second case, the EC asked Bulgaria to correctly implement the new card format for residence permits for non-EU nationals, amended in 2017 to feature upgraded security features that rely on biometric data.

Bulgaria is currently not issuing the new residence permits, which had to be in place by July 2020, the Commission said.

Additionally, Bulgaria was sent a reasoned opinion, the second stage of infringement proceedings, on two existing cases regarding environmental and public health issues.

In one ongoing case, the Commission called on Bulgaria to comply with its reporting obligations under the Floods Directive (Directive 2007/60/EC). Bulgaria has failed to review and, if necessary, update the preliminary flood risk assessments and make these available to the Commission, the EC said.

In the second case, the Commission “urges Bulgaria to correctly apply EU rules on the marketing of natural mineral water and spring water,” specifically the requirement that prohibits the marketing of natural mineral waters and spring waters originating from one and the same spring, under more than one trade description.

Furthermore, Bulgarian laws do not require the indication of the name of the spring on the labels of those foodstuffs, as mandated by Directive 2009/54/EC.

Bulgaria has two months to respond to the arguments raised by the Commission in its reasoned opinions, otherwise the Commission said it may decide to bring the cases before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

(European Commission headquarters Berlaymont building. Photo: JLogan)

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