EC opens new infringement cases against Bulgaria on ID cards, waste

The European Commission said on July 14 that it opened two infringement proceedings against Bulgaria and was advancing the infringement proceedings in five other cases as part of its latest infringements package.

In the first new case, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice, asking Bulgaria to comply with Regulation (EU) 2019/1157, which sets EU rules on identity cards and residence documents issued to EU citizens and their family members.

These rules aim to facilitate free movement in the EU by reinforcing the security and format standards for identity cards and residence documents, the EC said.

Bulgaria was yet to implement the rules regarding identity cards, residence documents issued to EU citizens and residence cards issued to non-EU family members, even though the new regulation entered into force in August 2021, the Commission said.

In the second new case, the EC said that Bulgaria failed to apply the “polluter-pays” principle, as laid down in the waste framework directive (Directive 2008/98/EC).

In Bulgaria, the costs for waste management that citizens and businesses pay are based on the tax value of the property and do not take into account relevant parameters such as the quantity of household waste. Although Bulgaria amended its legislation to address the issue, the application of the provisions kept being postponed each year since 2015, the Commission said.

“According to the latest information by the Bulgarian authorities, the application of the provisions could become effective in the following two years,” the EC said, prompting the Commission to send the letter of formal notice, which gives 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 said that it was taking that very step regarding the European Arrest Warrant, saying that Bulgaria failed to correctly transpose rules on mandatory grounds for non-execution, effective judicial review prior to the surrender, and the notion of humanitarian reasons for the postponement of the surrender.

In a second existing infringement case, regarding compliance with EU rules on public procurement, outlined in Directive 2014/24/EU, the Commission said that Bulgaria still had two exclusions from the application of public procurement rules, namely for certain medicinal products and for construction and maintenance of engineering facilities of an obstructive type to protect the state border.

The other three cases in which the Commission sent reason opinions referred to Bulgaria’s failure to transpose the EU rules on the accessibility of products and services for persons with disabilities, the incorrect transposition of Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2021/1717 on periodic roadworthiness tests, and not notifying the EC whether the country correctly transposed Directive (EU) 2020/1057 on the posting of drivers.

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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