Minister Borislav Sandov: For six months we prepared the closure of 7 infringement procedures for environment

08 Jun, 2022 | 17:19

Out of the total of 18 infringement procedures by the European Commission against Bulgaria in the environment sector, which we were faced with six months ago, one has already been closed and the conditions have been met for closing six more. This was said by Deputy Prime Minister for Climate Policy and Minister of Environment and Water Borislav Sandov at a press conference at the Ministry of Environment and Water today.

“When I took office, one of our key priorities was to halve infringement procedures. Last month, the EC closed the procedure for the update of the preliminary flood risk assessments. Under two procedures – one for the transposition of a directive in the field of noise and another for the update of the Maritime Strategy of Bulgaria - the obligations have already been fulfilled. We have informed the EC and are waiting for its decision to close these two procedures,” added Minister Sandov.

Parliament adopted amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, they were published in the State Gazette, and this is related to the closure of 3 more infringement procedures.

“This will allow Bulgaria to inform the EC that we have fulfilled our obligations under two of them, and within a month we will adopt the changes in the bylaws, which will eliminate violations related to another procedure,” he said. Today, the amendments to the GMO Act were finally adopted, which will allow us to close another infringement procedure. Minister Sandov said that the intensive work by the Ministry of Environment and Water will allow more than half of the infringement procedures to be closed by the end of the first year of the government’s term in office.

The Minister acknowledged that there are procedures under which financial sanctions for Bulgaria are unlikely to be avoided, such as the case with fine particulate matter (PM) in ambient air. Some of the most difficult procedures require significant time and financial resources to meet the requirements of European legislation.

Transport is the biggest polluter with PM during the summer, according to data in the National Environmental Report for 2020, which was presented today. PM pollution is high - 60% of the population lives at elevated levels. Our country has also made no progress in the reform to reduce emissions by the coal sector. The national target for recycling levels of 50% of household waste is also not achieved. The report considers the increasing number of waste water treatment plants as a positive trend.

According to the report, 2020 is the second warmest year for the period 1988-2020. The average annual temperature for the lower part of the country is 13°C, which is 1.1°C above normal, and December is the warmest month for the entire period. In the section on “Biodiversity” for 2020 it is noted that six new nonnative plant species and 9 foreign animal species were reported for Bulgaria. Evidence of a strong negative impact of invasive species in wild nature has been established.