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TBP Legal and Business News - September 2013

 

TBP Legal News September 2013

TBP Legal News
September 2013

 

Government remains in office despite continuing protests
 
Although street protests against the new Bulgarian Cabinette continue for more than 100 days now, the Government remaines relatively stable and keeps announcing reforms.
New regulations on foreign investment incentives regime and public-private partnerships are expected.
The Minister of Finance recently announced that all tax rates (including disputable tax on interests) will be kept for the next year. Therefore, the corporate tax and the personal income tax flat rates will remain 10%, while the general VAT rate will still be 20%. Dividends tax rate will also remain 5 %. The Ministry of Finance will propose minor amendments to applicable taxation procedures aiming to reduce administrative burden for individuals and businesses.
The Government also announced a programme for reduction of administrative barriers before businesses. Discussed measures include abolishment of a number of licensing regimes, reduction of some state fees (including these payable to the Commercial Registry), reduction of paperwork required and introduction of electronic communication with governmental institutions (e-Government).
Expected economic growth for 2013 is less than 1%, while the forecast for 2014 varies between 3 and 4 %. The unemployment rate varies between 10 and 14 %, according to various sources.
 
New EU Regulation abolishes the concept of “dietetic foods”
 
After the European Commission proposal for revisions in the EU legislation regarding foodstuffs for particular nutritional uses, on 12 June 2013, a new Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on Food Intended for Infants and Young Children, Food for Special Medical Purposes and Total Diet Replacement for Weight Control was adopted (the Regulation). The Regulation repeals the existing legislation that sets the framework for these products (Directive 2009/39/EC) and abolishes the concept of 'dietetic foods'.
The new Regulation provides for explicit general compositional and information requirements for the following categories of foods: 1) infant formulae and follow-on formulae; 2) processed cereal based foods and other baby foods; 3) food for special medical purposes and 4) total diet replacement for weight control. Foods from the said categories can be placed on the market if they meet the requirements of the Regulation.
Any other categories of foods which were covered by the framework Directive 2009/39/EC and other EU acts on foods for particular nutritional uses remain outside the scope of the Regulation and shall be subject to the provisions of the other relevant acts (such as Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on food, Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 on the addition of vitamins and minerals and of certain other substances to food, Directive 2002/46/EC on food supplements etc.).
The Regulation shall be in force as of 20 July 2016. Over the next two years the Commission will adopt specific rules for the different categories of foods, covered by the Regulation via delegated acts. Foods, labelled before 20 July 2016 can be sold till exhausting of stocks.
 
Bulgaria to abolish veto on purchasing of agricultural land by foreign persons
 
Effective 1 January 2014, EU citizens and legal entities registered within an EU Member State shall be entitled to freely acquire ownership or limited property rights over agriculture land and forests.
               
The veto shall be abolished further to expiry of a 7-year transitional period folliwng the date of effective accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union. The Treaty on Accession also envisaged a 5-year transitional period for acquisition of residential land, which expired on 1 January 2012.
 
Thus, following 1 January 2014, EU citizens and respective entities shall be entitled to acquire any type of land property in Bulgaria, regardless of its type and particular designation.

TBP Legal and Business News - September 2013