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European Commission sues Bulgaria over nature protection laws

The European Commission has referred Bulgaria to the EU court over the country’s authorization of wind turbines in protected areas of the Kaliakra peninsula.

„The Commission has moved its case against Bulgaria to trial phase in EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg,“ announced Iskra Mihaylova, Bulgaria’s Minister of Environment and Water.

If Bulgaria is convicted, the amount of the penalty is to be determined by the Court, and the commission could seek the removal of the offending wind turbines, explained Mihaylova.

Thirteen other cases over environmental issues are also expected to start soon, added the minister.

In June the commission urged Bulgaria to comply with EU nature protection laws and since the country failed to do so EC refers the case the EU Court of Justice.

Bulgaria has authorized the implementation of a number of projects in the Kaliakra area, a globally important stopping-off point for tens of thousands of migratory birds, without appropriate environmental impact assessment.

The EC voices concerns that thousands of wind turbines have been authorised in the area without adequate assessments of their effect on Kaliakra’s unique habitats and species.

As a result, Bulgaria is left with insufficient territories designated as Special Protection Areas (SPA) under the Birds Directive in the Kaliakra region.