EC opens infringement proceedings against Bulgaria on lab animals, dolphin protection

The European Commission said on July 15 that it opened two infringement proceeding against Bulgaria and was advancing the infringement proceedings against Bulgaria in two existing cases as part of its latest infringements package.

The first of two new cases concerned Bulgaria’s failure to “correctly transpose EU legislation on laboratory animals,” in particular requirements regarding “the methods of killing, reuse in procedures, project authorisation decisions and withdrawal of authorisation.”

In the second new case, Bulgaria was asked to implement the measures required by the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and the Common Fisheries Policy to prevent the by-catch of dolphins and other protected species.

“Bulgaria has failed to take measures to avoid the disturbance of dolphins and porpoises in Natura 2000 sites as well as failing to properly monitor the by-catch of these protected species in the Black Sea. The country has also failed to correctly transpose the obligation for monitoring of by-catch as required by the Habitats Directive,” the Commission said.

The letters of formal notice give Bulgaria two months to respond, or the Commission could escalate the case by sending a reasoned opinion, the second stage in the infringement proceedings.

The Commission took that very step in its July 2022 infringements package regarding the ongoing proceedings against Bulgaria on the topics of protection of whistleblowers and energy performance of buildings.

In the first case, Bulgaria was one of 15 EU member states called out by the Commission for failing to “fully transpose the Directive on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law.”

In the other case, the Commission said that Bulgaria has “still not fully transposed” the directive, which included new requirements such as minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings, electro-mobility and recharging points, and new rules on the inspection of heating and air-conditioning systems.

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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