The European Commission has initiated an infringement procedure (criminal procedure) against the EU Member States, including Bulgaria, because our country wasn’t able to implement DIRECTIVE (EU) 2019/1937.
On January 27 2022, the European Commission sent a letter to Bulgaria informing it that it was not complying with its obligations under EU law.
Bulgaria must respond in a certain period (two months), to what measures has been taken to implement the Directive into national legislation. If the Commission concludes that the country is failing to fulfil its obligations under EU law, it may send a reasoned opinion: a formal request to comply with EU law. If the country still doesn’t comply, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice. Most cases are settled before being referred to the court. If Bulgaria fails to communicate measures that implement the provisions of a directive in time, the Commission may ask the court to impose penalties.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, a working group was set up in Ministry of Justice, gathering representatives of government institutions, experts, civil society organizations and businesses, to draft a law for protection of whistleblowers.
As of January 2022, the working group at the Ministry of Justice was closed and now there is no public information about work in this direction.
Transparency International – Bulgaria believes that Ministry of Justice must show political courage to create and implement an effective legal framework, to consult that framework with various stakeholders in a way that significant results can be achieved.
There is need for a wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders because the new rules and legislation for the protection of whistleblowers will be applicable not only for the governmental and local administration but for private sector and NGO’s as well.