site.btaEC Presents State of Play of Infringement Procedures against Bulgaria
The European Commission on Thursday presented the state of play of infringement procedures against EU Member States, five of them related to Bulgaria.
Procedural rights in criminal proceedings
The European Commission decided to open an infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to Belgium, Bulgaria and Croatia for failing to correctly transpose the Directive on the strengthening of the presumption of innocence and the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings (Directive 016/343/EU). The Commission considers that certain national transposition measures notified by the three Member States fall short of the requirements of the Directive, in particular those concerning public references to guilt (Belgium, Bulgaria and Croatia); trials in absentia (Belgium and Croatia); the use of measures of physical restraint (Croatia); the right not to incriminate oneself (Croatia and Bulgaria); remedies against violations of the rights of the Directive (Belgium and Bulgaria). Moreover, the Commission considers that the Bulgarian legislation does not correctly transpose the scope of the Directive, since under Bulgarian law undetained suspects do not benefit of the rights provided under the Directive. Belgium, Bulgaria and Croatia now have two months to take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission.
The European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria and Latvia for failing to correctly transpose the Directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings (Directive 2012/13/EU). This Directive aims to ensure that persons suspected or accused in criminal proceedings or subject to a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) are given adequate information about their rights. The Commission sent letters of formal notice to Bulgaria and Latvia in September 2021. It considers that the national transposition measures notified by the two Member States fall short of the requirements of the Directive, namely with regards to the right of access to the materials of the case, which are essential to effectively challenge the lawfulness of arrest or detention. In Bulgaria, the Commission further notes that the scope of application of the Directive and the right to information about rights and the provisions concerning the Letter of Rights on arrest have still not been correctly transposed. Bulgaria and Latvia now have two months to take the necessary measures to address the remaining shortcomings identified by the Commission.
The European Commission decided to open infringement procedures by sending letters of formal notice to Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus and Lithuania for not implementing the 2D-barcode on the uniform format for visas. The 2D-barcode was introduced to protect the entries on the visa sticker against falsification. All Member States were notified of the decision to introduce the barcode on April 30, 2020. The deadline for the implementation expired in May 2022. All four Member States concerned are still not printing the 2D-barcode on the visa stickers they issue. Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, and Lithuania have now two months to respond to the letter and address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.
The European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria and Cyprus for failing to transpose the EU rules on the use of digital tools and processes in company law (Directive (EU) 2019/1151). The Directive requires Member States to introduce fully online procedures for the formation of certain company types, the registration of cross-border branches and the submission of documents in business registers. It also made more company data available free of charge from business registers through the Business Registers Interconnection System. In September 2022, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Bulgaria and Cyprus. Following their replies, the Commission concluded that both Bulgaria and Cyprus have failed to notify national measures that ensure full transposition of the Directive. These Member States now have two months to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The Commission is calling on eight Member States (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Spain, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia) to finalize the review of their river basin management plans as required under the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) and/or the flood risk management plans as required under the Floods Directive (Directive 2007/60/EC). Both directives require Member States to review, update and report these plans every six years. Flood risk management plans are established based on maps showing the potential adverse consequences associated with flood scenarios. In February 2023, the Commission issued letters of formal notice calling on these Member States to comply with their obligations and to finalize the review of their water plans. Bulgaria is among the countries which are late in the review of their river basin and flood risk management plans. The Commission is therefore sending a reasoned opinion to these nine Member States, which now have two months to respond and take the necessary measures. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to refer the Member States to the Court of Justice of the European Union.