The European Commission has decided to file a claim against Bulgaria before the Court of Justice of the European Union, as the country has not taken measures to transpose the Victims’ Rights Directive into national legislation. The deadline for Member States to transpose the directive was 16 November 2015.
The Victims’ Rights Directive is the most important instrument at EU level that applies to all victims of crime. The directive came into force in 2015. Since then, the directive has had a positive impact on victims’ right to access information and improved victims’ access to support services.
The aim of the directive is to ensure that all victims of crime receive appropriate information, support and protection and can participate in criminal proceedings. According to the directive, victims are recognized as such and treated with respect, tact, understanding, professionalism and without any discrimination by all actors who come into contact with them. Special attention should be paid to victims with specific needs in order to protect them from secondary victimization, retaliation or intimidation. These victims also have access to specialist support services and special protection measures.
In 2019, the Commission opened 25 infringement proceedings against Member States for incomplete transposition of the Victims’ Rights Directive. As of November 2023, all infringement proceedings have been closed, with the exception of Bulgaria.
In January 2016, the Commission sent an official letter of notification to Bulgaria for not transposing the directive and not communicating the transposition measures to the Commission within the deadline. In March 2019, the Commission took follow-up actions with a reasoned opinion, as Bulgaria had not communicated full transposition.
After numerous contacts with the Bulgarian authorities since 2019 and taking into account Bulgaria’s latest responses, the Commission has decided to bring a case against this country before the Court of Justice of the European Union, as two provisions of the Victims’ Rights Directive have not yet been transposed into Bulgarian legislation.
As 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.
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