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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.

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Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2008 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(98) 707 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(1999) 501 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2000) 701 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1744 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1400 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2003) 676 final - SEC(2003) 1210 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2004) 657 final - SEC(2004) 1199 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2005) 534 final - SEC(2005) 1352 - Not published in the Official Journal] Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 157 of 21.06.05]


In its Opinion of July 1997, the European Commission considered that Bulgaria had fulfilled the commitments undertaken under the European Agreement on the Free Movement of Goods. However, despite the considerable progress achieved, great efforts still needed to be made before the Community acquis was fully and effectively applied by Bulgaria.

The November 1998 Report confirmed this assessment, and asked Bulgaria to make further efforts.

The October 1999 Report noted that progress had been made in the areas of motor vehicles, drug precursors, legal metrology and product liability. However, significant work was still necessary for the transposition of the "New Approach" Directives.

In its November 2000 Report, the Commission highlighted the adoption of a framework law implementing the New and Global Approach principles.

The November 2001 Report noted that Bulgaria had continued to make good progress in this area.

In its October 2002 Report, the Commission considers that Bulgaria has continued to make good progress in this area.

The November 2003 Report notes that Bulgaria has made good progress in the field of the free movement of goods and has made further progress in the field of customs.

The October 2004 Report pointed out that Bulgaria had made continued progress with regard to the free movement of goods. Greater effort would be required in the area of public procurement.

The October 2005 Report noted that, in spite of considerable progress, Bulgaria needed to make greater efforts in the area of public procurement and in non-harmonised sectors.

The Treaty of Accession was signed on 25 April 2005 and accession took place on 1 January 2007.


Free movement of goods can only be achieved by removing measures that restrict trade: not only customs duties and quantitative restrictions, but all measures with equivalent, i.e. protectionist, effect.

Where technical standards are not harmonised, the principle of mutual recognition of national rules applies (in line with the Cassis de Dijon judgment).

For the purpose of harmonisation, the European Community has developed the "New Approach". Instead of imposing technical solutions, European Community legislation is limited to establishing the essential requirements that products must meet.


Since 1990, Bulgaria has adopted a general policy of liberalisation of trade and has begun to fully liberalise prices. However, it is only since the 1998 Report that Bulgaria has made more progress. In 1999, it adopted the law on standardisation that set up administrative bodies with authority in this area, and the framework law for the implementation of the principles of the new and global approach.

As regards the administrative infrastructure, the functional independence of technical regulation, standardisation, accreditation, certification and market surveillance should be guaranteed by the Bulgarian Accreditation Service, the State Agency for Standardisation and Metrology and by various Ministries. However, Bulgaria still needs to reinforce these bodies and set up a customs infrastructure and effective administrative co-operation between the competent authorities. The 2001 Report noted that the reorganisation of the State Agency for Standardisation and Metrology was still pending, particularly with regard to separating the standardisation, certification and market surveillance activities. In 2002 the principle of the mutual recognition of conformity had still not been introduced into Bulgarian legislation. Bulgaria should place more emphasis on developing a national system of conformity assessment. In 2004, the report notes that the principle of the mutual recognition of conformity has still to be introduced into Bulgarian legislation. In 2005 this sector was marked by limited progress: the principle of mutual recognition still needs to be adopted and applied in all legislation.

As regards specific sectoral legislation, and more particularly the transposition of the " New Approach " Directives, little progress has been made except in the area of gas-burning appliances. The 2001 Report noted that Bulgaria had taken the first steps towards transposing the CE marking principles of the "New Approach" legislation by adopting a decree on CE conformity marking in August 2000. In its 2002 Report, the Commission notes that around twelve Directives have been transposed, including those on gas appliances, construction products, machinery, recreational craft, toys, lifts, electromagnetic compatibility, simple pressure vessels, explosives for civil use and low-voltage equipment. The 2004 report commented that new legislative provisions had been adopted with the aim of transposing the acquis to include gas appliances, machinery, cableways, lifts, toys, non-automatic weighing instruments and the safety of electrical appliances. In its 2005 Report the Commission noted that the majority of the sectoral legislation texts under the New Approach had been transposed. In spite of this, additional efforts were needed in several specific sectors, especially in the field of medical appliances, where the transposition of the acquis had not yet commenced.

As for the "Old Approach Directives", progress has been made in relation to motor vehicles and foodstuffs by adopting framework laws, and in chemicals and pharmaceuticals. In 2001 transposition was still behind schedule except for motor vehicles, glass, footwear, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. The 2004 report remarked that further progress had been made, particularly with regard to completing implementation of the legal framework relating to type-approval of motor vehicles, following the adoption of implementing legislation under the law on road traffic safety. In 2005 a considerable amount of legislation, especially on motor vehicles, was adopted. With regard to foodstuffs, the bulk of the legislation was transposed, apart from that concerning new foods and the 2004 acquis. A National Council for Food Safety was set up. Between now and the end of 2006 manufacturers in this field will have to comply with the requirements of the HACCP (hazard analysis and control of critical points) system.

For drug precursors, in March 1999 Bulgaria adopted a law on the control of narcotic substances and precursors, which appears to be in accordance with the acquis.

At present, there are no statutory instruments in accordance with the acquis on the labelling of textile goods and of footwear, or on glass. However, the law of March 1999 on consumer protection and the rules for trade sets the legal base for the adoption of ordinances to implement the acquis in these areas.

In the field of legal metrology, Bulgaria has adopted three implementing ordinances (on measurement standards, on metrological control and verification marks and on the authorisation to verify and repair measuring instruments) on the basis of the law on measurements of April 1998. The 2003 report notes that Bulgaria has set up a national institute of metrology. According to the 2005 Report, further efforts must be made with regard to legal metrology.

A law on the control of explosive substances, firearms and ammunition has been in force in Bulgaria since October 1998. This law regulates activities related to explosive substances, carried out by natural persons, judicial bodies and economic operators. The 2002 Report notes that there is nothing to report with regard to the acquis on firearms. The 2004 Report remarks that no new provision on firearms has been adopted.

Bulgaria has made significant progress in the field of product liability by adopting the law on consumer protection and trade rules (see "Consumer protection" above).

In the area of public procurement, the legislation has to be amended to conform with the Community acquis concerning the legal remedies for unsuccessful bidders, and the bodies responsible for this sector need to be strengthened. In 2001, increased efforts were made to adapt the legal framework in this area. An important step was taken with the amendment of the law on the award of public contracts, which took effect in May 2002, but the 2003 report notes that the new law has still not been adopted and that the administrative structure in place remains unsatisfactory. The 2004 report points out some significant developments in aligning with the acquis on public procurement, particularly by adopting a new law in March 2004. This law, which entered into force in October 2004, defines the different types of procurement contracts and relevant exemptions, the contracting procedures to be followed and the contracting authorities. With regard to this law, the Commission has nevertheless noticed the absence of a fully effective remedy mechanism. According to the 2005 Report, the new provisions of the public procurement Directives adopted in 2004 still need to be implemented. The Public Procurement Agency needs to make further efforts as regards the training of staff and, also, a clear separation of advisory and review functions.

As regards customs union, the 2002 Report considers that Bulgaria has made little progress. As regards alignment with the Community customs code and its implementing provisions, it should be noted that Bulgaria was already well advanced. However, the administrative and operational capacity available to implement the acquis has only developed to a limited extent. With regard to the administrative and operational capacity to implement the acquis, Bulgaria must significantly reinforce its administrative capacity and its capacity to combat fraud. The national strategy to combat corruption adopted in October 2001 includes specific measures to implement "anti-corruption reform in the Customs Agency".

The November 2003 Report noted that further progress had been made, particularly concerning transit, customs procedures with economic impact, free zones and free warehouses, placing under customs procedures and customs debt. In April 2003 Bulgaria concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Union on participation in the programme. The 2004 Report mentioned the progress made regarding administrative and operational capacity, referring, on the one hand, to the intelligence and investigation services and, on the other, to internal control over customs receipts. Cooperation with customs authorities in neighbouring countries has been further strengthened. There have also been developments in the cooperation between the National Customs Agency and the other national enforcement bodies in the field of border control and combating crime. The 2005 Report indicated the need to strengthen the administrative capacity of the National Customs Agency, especially with regard to simplified customs procedures and strengthening of post-clearance audits. The transfer to the National Customs Agency of responsibility for collecting excise duties is a priority that merits special effort.

The negotiations on the chapters on the free movement of goods and on customs union have been provisionally closed. Bulgaria has not asked for any transitory system in this area. Overall it has fulfilled the commitments that it made during the negotiations on these chapters.

Last updated: 04.01.2006