European Commission takes Bulgaria to European Court of Justice over victims’ rights

The European Commission said on November 16 that it has decided to refer Bulgaria to the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) over its failure to fully implement the Victims’ Rights Directive into national law.

The Commission said that Bulgaria is the last EU member state yet to fully transpose Directive 2012/29/EU, the deadline for which was November 16 2015.

Despite receiving a letter of formal notice in January 2016 and a reasoned opinion in March 2019, Bulgaria was yet to implement two provisions of the directive, the EC said, without giving details on the provisions in question.

“Since the case concerns the failure to communicate transposition measures of a legislative directive, the Commission will ask the Court of Justice of the European Union to impose financial sanctions on Bulgaria,” the EC said in a statement.

The referral to the European Court of Justice is the last stage in the EU infringement process. This is the latest of several cases this year in which the European Commission has taken Bulgaria to court over failure to implement EU law.

In January, it referred infringement cases regarding biodiversity and renewable energy rules, and followed up with referrals in cases regarding copyright rules and open data use in February.

In April, it sent three other cases to the ECJ, on clean vehicle targets, the European Electronic Tolling Service, and the marketing of natural mineral water and spring water.

As part of its November infringements package, the Commission said that it opened one new case against Bulgaria by sending a letter of formal notice and was pushing forward with two existing cases by sending reasoned opinions, the second stage in the infringement process.

In the new case, Bulgaria was one of several EU member states asked to correctly transpose the Waste Framework Directive.

“Bulgaria’s laws incorrectly transpose provisions on the minimum requirements for extended producer responsibility schemes, the monitoring and evaluation of waste prevention measures and the separate collection of textiles which is to be set up by January 1 2025,” the EC said.

The reasoned opinions concerned Bulgaria’s failure to meet commitments to reduce emissions of air pollutants and the lack of notification regarding the transposition of EU rules on cross border conversions, mergers and divisions of companies laid down in Directive (EU) 2019/2121.

(European Commission headquarters Berlaymont building. Photo: JLogan)

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