Ban on Beach Camping 'Unconstitutional', Bulgaria President Says

Society » ENVIRONMENT | March 12, 2016, Saturday // 15:17
Bulgaria: Ban on Beach Camping 'Unconstitutional', Bulgaria President Says File photo, BGNES

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev will refer a ban on beach camping adopted by MPs to the constitutional court, his press office has said.

While welcoming sections of the law regulating construction and usage of the Black Sea coastline which will help save "the few beaches with preserved nature", Plevneliev cannot accept fines introduced for putting tents or parking on beaches, according to the statements.

Early in March, a Parliament vote which outlawed beach camping sparked street protests in Bulgaria's capital Sofia.

The ban included a prohibition to put up tents outside the specifically designated places.

Plevneliev has also warned additional measures may have to be taken to preserve the Black Sea coastline, apart from a ban on concession awarding of wild beaches.

"Biological diversity and ecosystems of those beaches cannot be saved if there are construction activities along the strip of land behind them. We have to respect the needs of part of Bulgarian citizens to have rest not in hotels and hotel compound, but as close to nature as possible. This is where the responsibility and the role of the state lie to create rules in order to secure the right of every Bulgarian citizen to use the nature and resource of the country and to find the balance between different needs," the statement quotes his motives.

Separately, the President believes fines of between BGN 1000 and BGN 10 000 (roughly EUR 500-5000) for such violations as camping and parking, without the extent of their impact on the environment being taken into account, breaches the Bulgarian Constitution's Article 55 and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights' Article 52.

The Constitution article in question reads: "Citizens shall have the right to a healthy and favourable environment in accordance with the established standards and norms. They shall be obligated to protect the environment."

The respective article of the Charter of Fundamental rights of the European Union can be read here.

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Tags: beach, camping, Bulgaria, ban, Rosen Plevneliev, protests, Black Sea
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