The European Commission has officially asked Bulgaria to eliminate the requirements imposed on large food chains, according to which they must allocate more space to Bulgarian products. The EC claims that these measures are incompatible with the free movement of goods.
Bulgarian law currently forces retailers to display local food products in a special way, as well as to buy 90 percent of milk and dairy products from local manufacturers.
These regulations restrict the free movement of goods and create more favorable and competitive conditions for local food products, which leads to discrimination against similar imported products, the EC said.
The legislation also restricts the freedom of establishment, as it prevents retailers from choosing their range, determining the arrangement of their sales areas and managing their supply chain. Such restrictions can only be justified on grounds of general interest, such as public health, and must be appropriate and necessary to achieve that objective.
Due to the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 epidemic and the weakening of the EU's economies, it is absolutely necessary to protect the free movement of goods and freedom of establishment. Unjustified obstacles can undermine joint efforts to maintain the free and efficient transport of goods within the EU and the ability to tackle the crisis. Bulgaria has one month to respond to EC concerns. If it does not receive a satisfactory answer, the commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria, the announcement explains.