EC opens new infringement case against Bulgaria on procedural rights

The European Commission said on October 18 that it opened a new infringement case against Bulgaria and was advancing the proceedings in another case as part of its latest infringements package.

The new case refers to Bulgaria failing to correctly transpose Directive (EU) 2010/64 on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings.

This directive is part of a package of EU rules adopted to create common minimum standards ensuring that the fair trial rights of suspects and accused persons in criminal proceedings are sufficiently protected across the EU, the Commission said.

“The Commission considers that the Bulgarian national transposition measures fall short of the requirements of the directive regarding the right to interpretation, the right to a written translation of essential documents and the scope of the directive since under Bulgarian law, suspects not in detention do not benefit from the rights provided under the directive,” the EC said.

This case comes after the Commission opened new infringement proceedings against Bulgaria last month for failing to transpose a directive that aims to strengthen the presumption of innocence and the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings.

The letter 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 said that it was taking that very step regarding the ongoing proceedings against Bulgaria for not having correctly transposed EU rules on the proportionality test.

Directive(EU) 2018/958, which the EC described as “one of the key tools for preventing unjustified restrictive national rules”, requires that any new or amended national rules affecting professionals must be subject to a thorough analysis of proportionality before their adoption and supported with evidence.

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)

Please support independent journalism by clicking on the orange button below. For as little as three euro a month or the equivalent in other currencies, you can support The Sofia Globe via and get access to exclusive subscriber-only content:

Become a Patron!



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.