Bulgaria has to fulfil landfilling obligations, improve major industrial accidents control - EC

Bulgaria has to fulfil landfilling obligations, improve major industrial accidents control - EC

The European Commission (EC) said on Thursday that it has sent a letter of formal notice to Bulgaria, urging the country to fulfil its obligations under the EU's Landfill Directive which sets standards for landfills to prevent adverse effects on human health, water, soil and air.

The Commission has decided to send the letter of formal notice to Bulgaria for not complying with the bloc's rules on landfilling even after a 2015 judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union, it said in July package of infringement decisions.

In 2015, the court ruled that Bulgaria had not taken the necessary measures to ensure that all landfills comply with the obligations under the directive. "At the time, there were 113 substandard landfills still in operation. Although Bulgaria ensured that all the 113 substandard landfills covered by the judgement stopped accepting waste at the end of 2017, six years after the judgement of the court, 43 of these sites have still not been fully closed and rehabilitated," the Commission said.

Bulgaria now has two months to comply. Otherwise the Commission may decide to refer the country back to the Court of Justice and a financial penalty may be imposed, the EU's executive body said.

The Commission also said on Thursday that it has sent a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria, calling on the country to bring its national legislation into line with the EU directive on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances.

The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Bulgaria in July 2020 and in response, Bulgaria committed to amend national laws. However, Bulgaria has still not properly defined the scope of application of the respective directive by introducing the notion of ‘other establishment' into national legislation, which has cascaded into a number of non-compliant provisions, the Commission said.

"Some technical provisions have also been incorrectly enacted into national law including the definition of ‘inspection', as well as information that should be made available to the public, and giving the public an early opportunity to give its opinion," the Commission added.

Bulgaria now has two months to remedy the situation, otherwise the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice.

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