Official Journal of the European Union
Action brought on 8 February 2022 — European Commission v Republic of Bulgaria
Language of the case: Bulgarian
Applicant: European Commission (represented by: Gr. Koleva, C. Hermes)
Defendant: Republic of Bulgaria
Form of order sought
The applicant claims that the Court should:
declare that the Republic of Bulgaria has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 4(4) and Article 6(1) of Directive 92/43/EEC (1) on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (‘the Habitats Directive’), by:
order Bulgaria to pay the costs of the proceedings.
Pleas in law and main arguments
The present case concerns the incorrect transposition of Article 6(1) and the misapplication of Article 4(4) and Article 6(1) of the Habitats Directive on the part of Bulgaria.
Article 4(4) of the Habitats Directive requires, inter alia, once a given site has been adopted as a site of Community importance in accordance with the procedure laid down in paragraph 2 of that provision, that the Member State concerned designate it as an SAC as soon as possible and within six years at most. In the judgment in Case C-849/19, Commission v Greece (EU:C:2020:1047), the Court stated that the Member States are required also to set specific conservation objectives for each SAC. Article 6(1) of the Habitats Directive provides that in the context of SACs, Member States are to establish the necessary conservation measures involving, if need be, appropriate management plans specifically designed for the sites or integrated into other development plans, and appropriate statutory, administrative or contractual measures which correspond to the ecological requirements of the natural habitat types in Annex I and the species in Annex II present on the sites.
According to the Commission, the Republic of Bulgaria has failed to fulfil its obligations under those provisions to designate SACs within the required time limit; to set detailed site-specific conservation objectives; to establish the necessary conservation measures; and correctly to transpose into national law Article 6(1) of the Habitats Directive.
(1) OJ 1992 L 206, p. 7.