cee legislation tracker: bulgaria

24 March 2020 | newsletters

Status as of 06/04 11am CET

Banking & Finance, Capital Markets

  • As of 13/03 until 13/05 (the current period for the state of emergency) the consequences of delayed payments do not apply to individuals and companies in the private sector, including statutory interest, penalties for delay, acceleration events, cancellation of the contract and seizure of property.
  • The Bulgarian National Bank applied a package of measures amounting to BGN 9.3 billion (approx. EUR 4.8 billion). The core measures are designed to procure additional capital and liquidity strengthening, such as converting the full banking system profit into equity, cancellation of the projected increases of the counter cyclical capital buffer for 2020 and 2021, and increasing the banking system liquidity by BGN 7 billion (approx. EUR 3.6 billion) by reduction of the commercial banks’ foreign exposures.

Corporate, M&A

  • The deadline to publish the company's annual financial statements for the year 2019 in the Bulgarian Commercial Register is extended to 30/09. The annual financial statements may be signed via electronic signatures instead of wet ink signatures.
  • The deadline for inactive companies to declare in the Bulgarian Commercial Register that they have not carried out activity for the reported period 2019 is extended to 30/06.
  • The deadline for publicly listed companies to conduct an annual general meeting is extended to 30/09.
  • Some transactions (e.g. share transfers in limited liability companies and going concern transfers), as well as corporate changes (e.g. managing director appointments in limited liability companies), which require notary certification may be restricted due to limitations in notary services. Only urgent notary certifications will be performed.

Criminal Defence

Procedural law / deadlines

  • Pending deadlines under criminal proceedings are running.
  • As of 16/03 proceedings are not initiated under new filings with a few exceptions where court hearings are still allowed (see here the decree of the Supreme Judicial Council in BG).

Court hearings

  • As of 16/03 hearings are allowed only for limited types of cases, e.g. various detention measures. All other criminal cases must be scheduled after 13/04. The Sofia City Court is using Skype to conduct hearings where possible.

Service of Documents

  • As of 16/03 delivery of summons, notifications and other court documents is suspended, except for the cases where hearings are allowed. The delivery should be made via phone or electronic means.

Disputes (civil and administrative)

Procedural law / deadlines

  • Pending deadlines under civil, arbitration and enforcement proceedings are suspended as of 13/03 until 13/05.
  • As of 16/03 proceedings are not initiated under newly filed claims with a few exceptions where court hearings are still allowed.
  • Prescription periods, i.e. the periods for submitting a claim before the court, are suspended as of 13/03 until 13/05.
  • As of 24/03 enforcement actions such as public sale of property and taking possession of property are suspended. The enforcement actions will be scheduled after 13/05.
  • As of 24/03 preservation orders on bank accounts of natural persons and hospitals, as well as on labour remunerations and pensions, are not imposed (certain exceptions apply).

Court hearings

  • As of 16/03 hearings are allowed only for limited types of cases, e.g. under applications for interim measures. All other civil cases must be scheduled after 13/04.

Service of Documents

  • As of 16/03 delivery of summons, notifications and other court documents is suspended, except for the cases where hearings are allowed. The delivery should be made via phone or electronic means.

Disputes (public)

Procedural rules /deadlines

  • Pending deadlines under administrative court proceedings are suspended as of 13/03 until 13/05.
  • As of 16/03 proceedings are not initiated under newly filed claims with a few exceptions where court hearings are still allowed.
  • Statutory periods which, upon expiration, lead to termination of rights or new obligations for individuals and companies in the private sector are suspended as of 13/03 until 13/05 (certain exceptions apply).
  • Deadlines for fulfilment of instructions given by a public authority are suspended as of 13/03 until 13/05.
  • The validity periods of administrative acts (licenses, permits, etc.) which expire during the state of emergency are extended until 13/06.

Hearings

  • As of 16/03 hearings are allowed only for limited types of cases, e.g. request by a prosecutor for disclosure of tax information. All other administrative cases must be scheduled after 13/04.

Service of Documents

  • As of 16/03 delivery of summons, notifications and other court documents is suspended, except for the cases where hearings are allowed. The delivery should be made via phone or electronic means.

Public restrictions

  • As of 21/03: Prohibition on visiting parks, playgrounds and facilities of open and closed public places.
  • As of 21/03: Checkpoints at the exits of district cities. The authorities allow travel only for work and health purposes.
  • As of 13/03 until 29/03: Prohibition on visiting entertainment halls, discos, bars, restaurants, fast-food restaurants, cafes, shopping centers except for the bank/insurance offices, supermarkets and pharmacies in them, cinemas, theatres, concerts, conferences, gyms and other mass events.

EU & Competition

Deadlines

  • Pending deadlines for appeal of the acts of the authority are suspended as of 13/03 until 13/05.
  • Filings still can be made in the office of the authority. Submission electronically or by mail is recommended.
  • New proceedings will not be initiated under filings made within the period of the state of emergency.

Meetings and hearings

  • All authority and court hearings and meetings are postponed until further notice.
  • Case check-ups should be done primarily via the contact details (phone, e-mail) given for the proceedings.
  • Third-party access to the authority is limited, except for access to the registry office.

Important documents

  • Public statement that the authority will focus on monitoring the pharmacy and food market sectors during the COVID-19 crisis.


Healthcare & Life Sciences & Regulatory

State of Emergency Act

  • The Minister of Health may impose restrictions on export of medicinal products.
  • Public procurement procedures do not apply for supplies of medicinal products and equipment needed for treatment of COVID-19 patients, as well as for services for disposal of pesticides and hospital waste.
  • The Customs Agency may provide free of charge detained goods that can protect the health of the people. The goods may be provided to hospitals, schools and other institutions.

Medical Equipment

  • As of 26/03: The export of disinfectants and protective equipment as specified in Annex I of the Commission implementing regulation (EU) 2020/402 is prohibited without an explicit export authorization by the Minister of Health. The prohibition does not apply to the EU member states.

Medicinal products

  • As of 20/03 until further notice the exports of quinine-based medicinal products are prohibited.

Public restrictions

  • As of 21/03: Prohibition on visiting parks, playgrounds and facilities of open and closed public places.
  • As of 21/03: Checkpoints at the exits of district cities. The authorities allow travel only for work and health purposes.
  • As of 13/03 until 12/04: Prohibition on visiting entertainment halls, discos, bars, restaurants, fast-food restaurants, cafes, shopping centers except for the bank/insurance/payment service offices, supermarkets and pharmacies in them, cinemas, theatres, concerts, conferences, gyms and other mass events.

Insolvency & Restructuring

Support measures

  • As of 31/03: Amendments in the budget of the Ministry of Economy – additional funds amounting up to BGN 700 million (approx. EUR 358 million) designated for the increase of the capital of the Bulgarian Development Bank. The amounts will be granted in stages and used for support measures including the issuance of portfolio guarantees to commercial banks in order to facilitate more flexible terms under business loans.
  • During the state of emergency the governing bodies of the European structural and investment funds may unilaterally amend agreements for granted financial aid in accordance with the need for crisis measures and also provide financial aid under simplified rules, e.g. without an announcement for tender offers.

Insurance

  • The deadline for the monthly reports submitted by insurers to the supervisory authority is extended to 2 months following the reporting period.

Intellectual Property

N/A

Labour & Employment

Additional options for employers (see details here in English):

  • Assignment of work from home/remote work without employees' consent.
  • Provision of up to 50% of the paid annual leave without employees' consent.
  • Introductions of part-time work for some or all of the employees.
  • Ceasing the activity of the entire or part of the enterprise and providing the entire paid annual leave to the affected employees without their consent.
  • If the company's activity has been ceased by the authorities, the employer must not allow the affected employees to their working places.
  • The employer must approve all requests for paid or unpaid leave if submitted by:
    • a pregnant employee or an employee in advanced in vitro procedure;
    • mother or adoptive mother of a child of up to 12 years or with special needs regardless of the age;
    • single father or adoptive father of a child of up to 12 years or with special needs regardless of the age;
    • an employee under 18;
    • an employee with reduced capacity 50% and above;
    • an employee with special protection against dismissal as an occupational-rehabilitee employee or as an employee suffering from a disease designated in an ordinance of the Minister of Health.
  • Overtime restrictions do not apply to employees working under reduced working hours who provide or support the provision of medical assistance.

State aid for employers

  • During the application of the State of Emergency Act, but not more than 3 months, the National Social Security Institute provides to employers meeting certain criteria 60% of the social security income of their employees for January 2020.
    The aid could be used by (i) employers, whose operations have been discontinued as a result of an order of the state authorities for the duration of the emergency state (e.g. restaurants, bars) and (ii) other employers in case of a minimum of 20% decrease in revenue, which have temporarily stopped (entirely or partially) work or have introduced part-time for their employees.
    The deadline for filing the applications for financial aid is 21/04. Further details in Bulgarian language are available here).

Real Estate & Construction

N/A

Tax & Duties

Corporate Tax

  • Extension of the term for submission of the corporate tax declaration and payment of tax obligations by 30/06.

Local Tax

  • The deadline to benefit from 5% deduction of local taxes, i.e. real estate and vehicles, is extended to 30/06.

Tax and Social Security Code

  • As of 24/03 prescription periods for tax obligations are suspended until the state of emergency is repealed.
  • As of 24/03 enforcement proceedings for tax obligations are suspended and new enforcement actions will not be initiated (certain exceptions apply).

Telecom & Data Protection

Telecoms

  • Obligations of telecom providers to provide location data for evaluation whether people comply with quarantine orders.

Data Protection

  • No revisions of applicable local laws to facilitate health data or guidelines from the competent data protection authorities have been adopted so far.

Other

N/A


Kindly note that the summaries on this page are for information purposes only and do not take into account the specifics of a certain situation. The information is not designed to substitute and cannot substitute legal advice tailored to your needs. It is made available strictly on a non-reliance basis. Also, some of the addressed topics might be subject to short-term changes. 

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