European Commission Presses Ahead with Four Criminal Cases Against Bulgaria

World » EU | Author: Diana Kavardzhikova |March 13, 2024, Wednesday // 14:18
Bulgaria: European Commission Presses Ahead with Four Criminal Cases Against Bulgaria Pixabay

In a move underscoring its commitment to upholding European Union regulations, the European Commission has intensified its scrutiny of Bulgaria, pressing the nation on various fronts ranging from counterterrorism measures to environmental protection, BTA reported.

Terrorist Content Online:

The Commission has singled out Bulgaria, along with Cyprus and Slovenia, urging swift compliance with EU directives concerning the prompt removal of terrorist content from online platforms. Under European regulations implemented since June 2022, member states are mandated to expeditiously eliminate such content within an hour of receiving an official order. Failure to do so could prompt legal action, potentially leading to cases being referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Access to Legal Counsel:

Highlighting deficiencies in Bulgaria's implementation of EU regulations, the Commission has called for improvements in access to legal counsel for detainees. While European rules stipulate comprehensive protection for individuals from the outset of legal proceedings, including access to a lawyer, the Commission has identified shortcomings in Bulgaria's legal framework. Specific concerns include narrow application scopes and inadequate provisions for the effective participation of legal representatives during investigations. Bulgaria has been given a two-month window to address these issues, failing which could lead to further legal proceedings.

Combatting Racism and Xenophobia:

Bulgaria faces renewed pressure from the Commission to align with EU legislation aimed at combatting racism and xenophobia. Despite recent legislative amendments addressing some concerns, the Commission contends that these changes fall short of fully incorporating provisions that consider racist and xenophobic motives as aggravating factors in criminal cases. With a two-month deadline looming, Bulgaria is urged to take decisive action to meet EU standards, failing which legal action may proceed.

Protection of Sea Waters:

Echoing environmental concerns, the Commission has called upon Bulgaria to uphold obligations related to the monitoring and protection of sea waters. EU member states are mandated to submit timely reports outlining measures aimed at preserving marine environments. Despite previous warnings, Bulgaria, alongside Denmark, Greece, Croatia, and Malta, has failed to provide satisfactory responses, prompting the Commission to issue a two-month ultimatum for corrective action.

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Tags: Commission, Bulgaria, compliance, terrorism

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