EU Takes Bulgaria to Court over DTT Market Competition Issues, Failure to Implement Electricity, Gas Directives

EU Takes Bulgaria to Court over DTT Market Competition Issues, Failure to Implement Electricity, Gas Directives

The European Commission said it will refer Bulgaria to the European Court of Justice over disproportionately restrictive conditions in the procedure for granting digital terrestrial broadcasting authorisation.

"[..] the procedure followed by Bulgaria [..] hampers competition in the future Bulgarian digital terrestrial television (DTT) infrastructure market, in breach of the applicable EU Directives on electronic communications," the Commission said in a statement.

According to the Commission, Bulgaria did not comply with the competition requirements when in 2009 it assigned five spectrum lots available via two contest procedures, limiting without justification the number of companies that could potentially enter the market.

The selection criteria of the contest procedures were disproportionate, refusing applicants that had links with content providers, including operators active only outside Bulgaria, or with broadcasting network operators, in breach of the three directives, the Commission added.

In a separate statement, the European Commission said it is referring Bulgaria to the European Court of Justice for having failed to implement the EU's electricity and gas directives into its national legislation by March 2011.

Taking into account the duration of the infringement, the Court is asked to impose on Bulgaria an 8,448 euro ($11,261) penalty payment per day for each partially transposed directive due from the date of the judgment till the transposition is completed, the Commission said in a statement.

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