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The European Commission has referred three infringement cases against Bulgaria to the European Court of Justice.

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


European Commission announced decision refer Bulgaria Court

The European Commission announced its decision to refer Bulgaria to the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) in three ongoing infringement proceedings as part of its latest package of infringements.

The first case pertains to Bulgaria's failure to transpose rules on clean vehicle targets, specifically the framework for setting minimum national targets for the public procurement of clean vehicles.

Despite receiving a letter of formal notice in September 2021 and a reasoned opinion in April 2022, Bulgaria remained in breach of the directive, the Commission said.

The European Electronic Tolling Service, which was designed to allow EU road users to pay tolls with a single subscription contract, through a single provider, and a single on-board unit that would cover all member states, was not implemented in Bulgaria, and this led to a referral of the matter to the ECJ.

The Commission noted that Bulgaria’s failure to implement Directive (EU) 2019/520 was “an obstacle to interoperability between member states’ electronic road toll systems, and to cross-border enforcement of the obligation to pay road fees in the EU.”

The third case concerns Bulgaria's failure to correctly apply EU rules on the marketing of natural mineral water and spring water. The EC said that Bulgaria did not comply with the rules set out in Directive 2009/54/EC, in particular since the Bulgarian legislation does not prohibit the marketing of natural mineral and spring waters, which originate from the same spring, under more than one trade description, as required by the directive.

If the ECJ determines that Bulgaria violated EU law in any of these situations, the nation would be forced to abide by the ruling or risk increasing financial penalties based on the severity of the violation.

Additionally, the Commission revealed that it was pushing forward with six existing infringement proceedings against Bulgaria by sending reasoned opinions, the second stage in the infringement process. Failure to address the EC’s concerns within the next two months may result in a referral to the ECJ. 

The six cases concerned Bulgaria's failure to implement EU rules regarding maritime spatial planning, port reception facilities, the opening of its rail transport market, roadside inspections, the internal electricity market, and a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals.

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