cee legislation tracker: bulgaria

18 May 2020 | newsletters

Status as of 18/05 12am CET

Table of contents

Note: recently updated content is highlighted in grey 

1 Financial Support Measures

  • The Bulgarian National Bank has published the framework for private moratorium on financial loans. The framework allows for amendments in the payment schedule of the principal and/or the interest. The obligations may be postponed with 6 months but no later than 31/12. The full eligibility criteria may be found here in Bulgarian language. The affected borrowers must apply for relief by 22/06.
  • As of 09/04 until 13/05, if individuals and companies in the private sector default under loans and other types of financing (factoring, leasing, etc.) provided by banks and financial institutions, including where the receivables are assigned to other banks, financial institutions or third parties, no default interest or penalties shall be charged, acceleration clauses shall not apply, the agreements cannot be cancelled due to non-performance and property cannot be seized. The measure is extended until 13/07 but only for financing provided by financial institutions other than the banks and their subsidiaries, e.g. it applies to loans granted by fast-credit companies.
  • As of 13/03 until 08/04 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.

2 Capital Markets

n/a 

3 Employment

3.1 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.

3.2 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 plus the employer's social security contributions over this 60%.

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 Bulgarian Employment Agency announced that the deadline for submission of applications will be extended until 30 June 2020. Additionally, the employers who receive the financial aid must submit monthly updates on the initially provided information until 20th of each month. Further details in Bulgarian language are available here.

4 Real Estate

  • As of 09/04 tenants of properties owned by the state or the municipalities, which have to stop or restrict their activities due to the measures adopted during the emergency state, may be partially or fully released of rent payments by a decision/order of the ministers, district governors and other authorized officials.

5 Tax & Duties

5.1 Corporate Tax

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

5.2 Local Tax

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

5.3 Tax and Social Security Code

  • As of 21/05 the suspended prescription periods are resumed.
  • 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).

6 Corporate

  • 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.
  • As of 14/05 notaries resume their services with normal capacity.

7 Competition

7.1 Deadlines

  • The suspended deadlines from the beginning of the state of emergency (13/03) will be resumed after 16/04.
  • Filings still can be made in the office of the authority. Submission electronically or by mail is recommended.

7.2 Hearings & Meetings

  • As of 09/04 hearings of the authority may be held online. The authority must take the necessary measures to ensure the participation of the parties.
  • 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.

7.3 Important documents

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

8 Courts and Authorities

8.1 Administrative Courts            

Procedural rules /deadlines

  • All suspended deadlines are resumed as of 21/05.
  • Pending deadlines under administrative court proceedings are suspended as of 13/03 until 13/05. As of 09/04 exceptions are envisaged in an annex to the State of Emergency Act, e.g. cases for appeal of building permits, concession and public procurement procedures.
  • As of 16/03 until 13/05 proceedings are not initiated under newly filed claims with a few exceptions where court hearings are still allowed.
  • As of the repeal of the state of emergency (13/05), there will be one-month extension of statutory periods which expire during the state of emergency and are related to the exercise of rights or performance of obligations of private companies and individuals. Certain exceptions are envisaged (applicable after 16/04), e.g. periods will not be extended under public procurement and concession procedures, as well as for the proceedings in the Competition Protection Act.
  • The validity periods of administrative acts (licenses, permits, etc.) which expire during the state of emergency are extended until 13/06.

Hearings

  • As of 14/05 court hearings are resumed under strict compliance with the anti-epidemic measures. Third parties and media representatives are not allowed to attend the hearings. Where possible, the hearings may be conducted via video conference.
  • As of 16/03 hearings are allowed only for limited types of cases where procedural deadlines still apply, e.g. request by a prosecutor for disclosure of tax information. Hearings may be held online. All other administrative cases must be scheduled after 13/04.

Service of Documents

  • As of 14/05 delivery of summons and other court documents is resumed. Where possible, the service of notifications should be done via phone or email.
  • As of 16/03 delivery of summons, notifications and other court documents is suspended, except for the cases where hearings are allowed and procedural deadlines apply. The delivery should be made via phone or electronic means.

8.2 Criminal Courts

Procedural law / deadlines

  • All suspended deadlines are resumed as of 21/05.
  • Pending deadlines under criminal proceedings are mostly suspended as of 09/04. The exceptions are envisaged in an annex to the State of Emergency Act, e.g. cases for detention measures.
  • As of 16/03 until 13/05 proceedings are not initiated under new filings with a few exceptions where court hearings are still allowed.

Court hearings

  • As of 14/05 court hearings are resumed under strict compliance with the anti-epidemic measures. Third parties and media representatives are not allowed to attend the hearings. Where possible, the hearings may be conducted via video conference.
  • As of 16/03 hearings are allowed only for limited types of cases where procedural deadlines still apply, 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 14/05 delivery of summons and other court documents is resumed. Where possible, the service of notifications should be done via phone or email.
  • As of 16/03 delivery of summons, notifications and other court documents is suspended, except for the cases where hearings are allowed and procedural deadlines apply. The delivery should be made via phone or electronic means.

8.3 Civil Courts

Procedural law / deadlines

  • All suspended deadlines are resumed as of 21/05.
  • Pending deadlines under civil, arbitration and enforcement proceedings are suspended as of 13/03. As of 09/04 exceptions are envisaged in an annex to the State of Emergency Act, e.g. under applications for interim measures.
  • As of 16/03 until 13/05 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.
  • As of 24/03 until 13/07 public sale of property and taking possession of property against natural persons are suspended. The enforcement actions will be further rescheduled.  
  • As of 24/03 preservation orders on bank accounts of natural persons and hospitals, as well as on labor remunerations and pensions, are not imposed (certain exceptions apply).

Court hearings

  • As of 14/05 court hearings are resumed under strict compliance with the anti-epidemic measures. Third parties and media representatives are not allowed to attend the hearings. Where possible, the hearings may be conducted via video conference.
  • As of 16/03 hearings are allowed only for limited types of cases where procedural deadlines still apply, e.g. under applications for interim measures. Hearings may be held online. All other civil cases must be scheduled after 13/04.

Service of Documents

  • As of 14/05 delivery of summons and other court documents is resumed. Where possible, the service of notifications should be done via phone or email.
  • As of 16/03 delivery of summons, notifications and other court documents is suspended, except for the cases where hearings are allowed and procedural deadlines apply. The delivery should be made via phone or electronic means.

9 Healthcare

9.1 State of Emergency Act

  • For two years following 13/05 the Ministry of Tourism will grant state subsidies to tour operators which use air carriers with Bulgarian operative licenses for charter flights to Bulgaria. The subsidy will be in the amount of EUR 35 for each seat of the maximum capacity for a flight performed with a Bulgarian air carrier.
  • As of 24/04 until 31/05 the Council of Ministers may impose temporary measures for protection of foods produced in Bulgaria, their trade and release to the market in retail chains. Temporary restrictions for import of certain foods from countries outside the EU may also be imposed.
  • Until 13/07 the Minister of Health may impose restrictions on export of medicinal products.
  • Until 13/07 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.

9.2 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. .

9.3 Medicinal products

  • As of 20/03 until further notice the exports of quinine-based medicinal products are prohibited. As of 24/04 the ban is lifted for the medicine analgin-chinin.

9.4 Public restrictions

  • As of 18/05 shopping malls and gyms are re-opened.
  • As of 14/05 until 14/06: Prohibition on visiting entertainment halls, discos, bars, the closed spaces of restaurants and cafes. Cinemas, museums, galleries and libraries may work on 30% of the full capacity. Theaters and concerts are allowed at open spaces with limited audience to 30% of the full capacity.
  • As of 14/05 until 14/06: Entry ban to the territory of Bulgaria – all persons irrespective of nationality and means of transport are prohibited to enter. Certain exceptions apply, e.g. for Bulgarian citizens, persons with residency permits, public officials, medical personnel, transport workers etc. All persons arriving in Bulgaria from abroad are placed under mandatory 14-day quarantine (very limited exceptions apply).
  • As of 02/05 people are not obliged to wear masks at open public spaces. The protective face masks remain mandatory at closed public spaces.
  • As of 06/05 restaurants and cafes may work outdoors if they adopt certain measures, e.g. 1,5m distance between the tables and no more than 4 people at one table. As of 13/03 until 13/05: 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.

10 Insolvency

10.1 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.

11 Insurance

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

12 Intellectual Property

n/a

13 Telecom & Data Protection

13.1 Telecoms

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

13.2 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.

14 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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