TBP Legal and Business News - June 2013


TBP Legal News June 2013
TBP Legal News June 2013


New bridge opens across Danube

A new bridge across Danube (Danube Bridge II), linking the cities of Vidin in Bulgaria and Calafat in Romania, was officially launched on 14 June 2013. It is a part of the Pan-European Corridor IV, which runs from Dresden (Germany) to Istanbul (Turkey) and is considered an essential network for development of the transport in the area.

The cable-stayed bridge was built for 6 years by the Spanish company Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC). The total amount of the investment is around € 275 million, a part of which was financed by the European Union. This project created a thousand jobs, around three-quarters of which were filled by Bulgarian workers.

The bridge allows both road and rail traffic, and comprises of a four-lane motorway, a bike path, two pedestrian walkways and central railway tracks. The total length of the road part of the bridge is 1391 m, and the length of the railway - 1791 m.

The company that manages the bridge is based in Vidin. The road tolls will be collected at the Romanian side of the bridge and each side will receive the part of the tolls it invested in the bridge (more than 70% of the toll funds will go to Bulgaria). According to the Bulgarian Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications a total of 415 000 vehicles are forecasted to cross the bridge in the first year of its operation. Further traffic is expected to be generated from Greece, Turkey, Macedonia and the neighbouring region of Serbia.

Bulgarian Supreme Court revokes controversial grid access fee for photovoltaic producers

The Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria has revoked the grid access fee for photovoltaic producers introduced by the local energy Regulator in September 2012. The fee was due by all type of renewable energy (RE) producers. The fee faced strong opposition from the RE industry, which was stripped of high percentages of its revenues. Many producers filed court appeals against the Regulator’s grid fee decision asserting that it was unlawful, discriminatory and anti-competitive. As a result multiple court cases were instituted (albeit the same appear to be grouped according to RE type).
The appeal of photovoltaic operators was honored by court. Thus the grid access fee for photovoltaic plants (meeting specified criteria) has in fact been revoked. The relevant court judgment is final and may not be subject to further appeal.

Upcoming deadline for compliance with new data protection rules

Pursuant to the new Ordinance on the minimum level of technical and organizational measures and the admissible level of personal data protection (the „Ordinance”), effective as of 15 February 2013, each data controller shall determine a level of impact on the personal data registers kept by it and a corresponding level of personal data protection. The levels of impact/protection can be: „extremely high”, „high”, „medium” or „low”.
The level of impact shall depend on the nature of the processed personal data (determined on the basis of the criteria of confidentiality, integrity and availability), and the number of the individuals who will be affected in the case of illegal processing of personal data. The impact assessment shall be carried out periodically, while the initial impact assessment is to be completed by 15 August 2013.
The level of protection is defined by a number of particular technical and organizational measures for personal data protection corresponding to the respective impact level. The data controller must have practically implemented the measures included in the relevant level of protection within specified deadlines which vary from 6 months (for low level of protection) to 1 year (for high or extremely high level of protection), starting from determination of the level of impact. Data controllers have also to amend their instructions (policies) for personal data protection accordingly.
Fines for incompliance with the new rules can reach BGN 5,000 (EUR 2,557).

The European Commission brings Bulgaria to court over failure to fully transpose EU energy market rules

In line with earlier announcements the European Commission referred Bulgaria to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fully transpose the Electricity and Gas Directives into its national law. The Directives had to be transposed by the Member States by 3 March 2011, as part of the efforts for creation of “an efficient, interconnected and transparent European internal energy market” (as per the wording of relevant Commission’s press releases).
Bulgaria appears to have failed to comply with the above obligation even after reasoned opinions, urging full enforcement of both Directives, were sent to it by the Commission in February 2012. As a result the Commission launched proceedings against Bulgaria before the Court of Justice under Case No. C-203/13 (regarding the partial non-implementation of the Electricity Directive) and respectively Case No C-253/13 (regarding the partial non-implementation of the Gas Directive), notice of which was published in recent June issues of the Official Journal of the European Union. On each of the cases the Commission is proposing Bulgaria to be imposed a penalty of € 8,448 daily. The final amount of the daily penalties (if imposed) will be decided by the Court and would be payable from the date of the respective judgment until the EU rules transposition is completed.

TBP Legal and Business News - June 2013