EC opens two infringement proceedings against Bulgaria

The European Commission said on September 21 that it opened two infringement proceedings against Bulgaria as part of a package meant to address the failure of EU member states to notify measures taken to transpose EU directives into national law.

In total, 24 member states failed to communicate what was being done to implement one or more of 10 EU directives with transposition deadlines in July and August 2022, the Commission said in a statement.

The first case concerns the transposition of Directive (EU) 2019/1151, which covers provisions on the use of digital tools and processes in company law.

This directive requires member states to introduce fully online procedures for the formation of certain company types and registration of cross-border branches and fully online submission of documents in business registers.

Additionally, it also made more company data available free of charge from business registers through the Business Registers Interconnection System (BRIS).

The deadline for transposing the directive was August 2021, but Bulgaria sought and received a one-year extension. Despite that extension, Bulgaria was yet to communicate the measures to implement the directive.

Bulgaria has a track record in failing to implement EU rules as regards its national business register. Last year, the Commission referred Bulgaria to the EU Court of Justice for “continuously failing” to link its business register to BRIS.

The second case concerns Directive (EU) 2019/1023, which establishes a set of rules that are meant to help prevent bankruptcy and grant easier access to financing for insolvent entrepreneurs.

The EC said that the new rules provide the conditions for viable companies in financial difficulty to restructure early to avoid bankruptcy and will increase the efficiency of insolvency procedures by harmonising certain rules on courts and insolvency practitioners, as well as the use of electronic means of communication.

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.

(European Commission headquarters Berlaymont building. Photo: JLogan)

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