Bulgaria May Face Infringement Procedure over Changes to Supervisory Bodies

Bulgaria in EU | July 1, 2010, Thursday // 15:13|  views

EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, has stated that the EC will check in depth the reasons by the Bulgarian Socialist MEP Kristian Vigenin. Photo by BGNES

The European Commission has announced it will check whether the Bulgarian government has followed EU law when downsizing the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) and the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC).

The statements on the EC website from the EU Commissioner for Internal Market Regulation, Michel Barnier, and the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, came in response to questions by the Bulgarian Socialist MEPs Ivaylo Kalfin and Kristian Vigenin.

Kalfin and Vigenin have approached the EC with their concerns that the reduced staff of the FSC and CRC might affect the independence of the bodies.

According to the EU law, if the check proves that the changes in the FSC and CRC do not guarantee their independence from political interests, then Bulgaria will face an infringement procedure for not following EU law.

The staff of Bulgaria's Financial Supervision Commission has been reduced from 8 to 5 in June. According to Kristian Vigenin's letter to the EC, these changes have been done in order to appoint more convenient political members, which report directly to the ruling government.

Barnier has answered that the EU member states are free to organize their financial supervision as they want as long as the independence of the body is guaranteed.

“With this in mind, the EC will check in depth the reasons of the honorable member of the European Parliament,” Barnie said.

On the other hand, Ivaylo Kalfin has approached the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, with the concern that the staff of KRS has been reduced from 9 to 5 and the mandate has been decreased. He has asked whether these changes are violating the autonomy of the state body and allowing exercising political pressure.

Kroes has answered that she is following the law development in Bulgaria, connected to the reconstruction of CRC.

“The EC checks the compliance of the downsizing of CRC with EU law. The Commission will exercise its powers if the check concludes that the independence of the state body has been violated,” Kroes said.

She noted that the staff of CRC has been increased from 5 to 9 by the Socialist party, who also increased the time of the mandate.

“According to information of the Bulgarian government, the reconstruction of the regulation body from April 9 aims at bringing back the number of the staff and the mandate period that worked before the changes, done by the Socialist party. The changes aim at optimizing the work of some national regulation bodies. The EC is following the implementation of this measure and is analyzing the information, provided by the Bulgarian government,” Kroes said.

Bulgaria's ruling center-right party GERB has justified the changes with the reason that the two regulation bodies have an unnecessary large number of staff and its downsizing is needed for saving money and for optimizing their work.

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Tags: Financial Supervision Commission, Communications Regulation Commission, FSC, CRC, EC, Ivaylo Kalfin, Kristian Vigenin, Michel Barnier, Neelie Kroes


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