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Oct 29, 2009 18:43 EEST
September 29 (SeeNews) - The European Commission started on Thursday legal action against Bulgaria for systematic violations of nature protection law and lack of adequate assessment of the impact of construction projects on protected areas.
"The Commission believes that Bulgaria is systematically violating its obligations to safeguard areas eligible for protection under the Birds Directive and to properly assess the cumulative effects of the numerous authorised plans and projects on the environment and on bird habitats and species," the European Union executive said in a statement.
The Commission said earlier it has received a number of complaints about regarding on-going tourist and skiing developments in the Bansko Ski Centre in protected areas of the Pirin Mountain, which are noted for their spectacular flora and fauna. Some of these developments have been authorised by the national authorities before any proper assessment of their impact and cumulative effects on protected species and habitats had been carried out.
Similar complaints have been received about failures to assess the impact on protected areas of the spatial development plan for the Tsarevo municipality in southeast Bulgaria, another area important for tourism, where habitats and species in the coastal area are particularly at risk.
Bulgaria has two months to respond. If the government fails to take the necessary measures, the Commission will bring the case before the European Court of Justice.
If the Court of Justice rules that the law has been infringed, the offending EU member state will be asked again to take the necessary measures. If Bulgaria fails to comply with the ruling of the court, the Commission can impose financial penalty.
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