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Eight years after the official deadline, the European Union Directive establishing minimum standards for the rights, support and protection of crime victims from 2012 has not been fully implemented into the national legislation of Bulgaria. For this reason, on November 16, the European Commission notified Bulgaria that it will file a claim before the Court of Justice of the European Union for the incomplete transposition of the Directive (EU Directive on Victims’ Rights, Directive 2012/29/EU).
Today, the European Commission decided to file a claim against Bulgaria before the Court of Justice of the European Union due to the failure to notify the measures for transposition into national legislation of the Victims’ Rights Directive. The deadline for member states to implement (transpose) the directive into their national laws was 16 November 2015, the commission said in a statement.
In January 2016, the commission sent an official notification letter to Bulgaria for not having transposed and not communicating to the commission the measures for transposing Directive 2012/29/EU within the deadline.
Pursuant to the official procedure, in March 2019 the commission issued reasoned opinions to 13 countries, including Bulgaria, to call on them to fully apply the rules of Directive 2012/29/EU).
The directive applies to victims of all crimes, regardless of their nationality and regardless of where in the EU the crime was committed. The rules give victims clear rights to access information, to participate in criminal proceedings and to receive support and protection adapted to their needs. Directive 2012/29/EU also ensures that victims in a vulnerable situation can receive additional protection during criminal proceedings.
In October 2012, Member States agreed to transpose these rules into national law by 16 November 2015, the Commission recalled in the communication on the reasoned opinions sent to Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovakia.
After numerous conversations with the Bulgarian authorities since 2019 and taking into account the most recent responses sent to the commission from Bulgaria, “the commission has decided to file a claim against this member state before the Court of Justice of the European Union, as two provisions of the Directive on the rights of the victims have not yet been introduced into the Bulgarian legislation,” says today’s press release.
In 2019, 25 infringement procedures were ongoing against Member States for incomplete transposition of the Victims’ Rights Directive. As of November 2023, however, all procedures have been completed, with the exception of the one against Bulgaria.
Since the case concerns non-notification of measures to transpose a legislative directive, the commission will ask the Court of Justice of the European Union to impose financial sanctions on Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is represented in the November package of the European Commission with key decisions on violations and on the occasion of:
- the failure to properly transpose the Waste Framework Directive;
- EU legislation to reduce air pollution;
- the full and timely transposition of EU rules on cross-border conversion, merger and division of companies.