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Bulgaria

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REFERENCES

Commission Opinion COM(1997) 2008 final [Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission Report COM(1998) 707 final [Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission Report COM(1999) 501 final [Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission Report COM(2000) 701 final [Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission Report COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1744 [Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission Report COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1400 [Not published in the Official Journal].
Regular Commission Report COM(2003) 676 final - SEC(2003) 1210 [Not published in the Official Journal].
Regular Commission Report COM(2004) 657 final - SEC(2004) 1199 [Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission Report COM(2005) 534 final - SEC(2004) 1199 - [Not published in the Official Journal].
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 157 of 21.06.05]

SUMMARY

The Opinion of July 1997 anticipated that national legislation would meet EU requirements in the medium term, provided that the necessary measures were pursued with sufficient urgency and were accompanied by the necessary structural adjustment of the audio-visual sector.
The November 1998 Report does not depart from that assessment, but noted that significant progress has still to be made in the sector.
By contrast, the October 1999 Report found that significant progress has been made, notably on alignment of the Bulgarian legislation on the Community acquis.
The Reports of November 2000, November 2001 and October 2002 each reported the progress Bulgaria had made, mainly in the audiovisual sector.
The November 2003 Report set out the progress Bulgaria had made in aligning its legislation with the Community acquis.
The October 2004 Report noted that Bulgarian legislation was largely in line with the Community acquis and that administrative structures were in place. Negotiations on the audiovisual sector and culture had been provisionally closed. However, Bulgaria needed to take further measures to increase the administrative capacity of the regulatory authority and to ensure that the legislative framework is implemented effectively and in full transparency (particularly with regard to the licensing process). The October 2005 Report states that Bulgarian legislation is in line with the acquis in the audiovisual field.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 25 April 2005 and accession took place on 1 January 2007.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

In the context of the internal market, the audiovisual acquis is intended to ensure the provision and free movement of audiovisual services within the EU as well as the promotion of the European programme industry. The acquis is contained in the " Television without frontiers " Directive, which is applicable to all broadcasters regardless of mode of transmission (terrestrial, satellite, cable) or whether private or public, and lays down basic rules concerning transfrontier broadcasting. The main points are:

  • to ensure the free movement of television broadcasts throughout Member States,
  • to promote the production and distribution of European audiovisual products (by laying down a minimum proportion of broadcasting time for European products and those by independent producers),
  • to set basic standards for television advertising,
  • to provide for the protection of minors and allow the right of reply.

The Europe Agreement provides for cooperation in the promotion and modernisation of the audiovisual industry, and the harmonisation of regulatory aspects of audio-visual policy.

The Television Without Frontiers Directives is one of the measures to be adopted by the CEECs under Stage I of the White Paper White Paper on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the internal market of the Union (1995).

EVALUATION

In November 1998 the Law on Radio and Television was adopted. Together with the Law on Telecommunications adopted in July 1998, it sets the common legal framework for the telecommunication and audiovisual sectors. In March 1999 Bulgaria ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Transfrontier Television.

The administrative structures for implementation of the legislation (notably, the National Council for Radio and Television) are in place. However, there are still concerns about this body's capacity to monitor compliance with the Community legislation, mainly because of the lack of budgetary resources.

In October 2000, the entry into force of amendments to the Law on Radio and Television brought Bulgaria's audiovisual legislation into line with the Television Without Frontiers Directive. Additional measures to further transpose the acquis in the audiovisual sector entered into force in November 2001. These were intended to strengthen the regulatory body in this sector and to streamline licensing procedures. As a result, a Council for Electronic Media was established in November 2001 to replace the National Council on Radio and Television as the Bulgarian national regulatory body.
The administrative capacity of the National Council for Radio and Television was increased, but is still inadequate.
Bulgaria's audiovisual market was deregulated and the first private operator started operations.
In July 1999 Bulgaria joined the Council of Europe Convention on Transfrontier Television.

The Protocol amending and supplementing the Convention on Transfrontier Television came into effect in 2003. The budget and staff of the regulatory body, the Council for Electronic Media, were also increased slightly. Several decisions were adopted by the Council, for example concerning the introduction of a labelling system for the protection of children.
However, the Bulgarian Council for electronic media and national television and radio could not be financed from the broadcasting budget because charges had not been levied on users.

In September 2005, the Bulgarian Parliament adopted the Strategy for Radio and Television, which will allow the Council for Electronic Media to issue new tenders for television and radio programming licenses.

In the area of culture, Bulgaria proved its administrative ability to take part in cultural programmes. The Association Council decision allowing Bulgaria to participate fully in the Culture 2000 programme was adopted in October 2001.

In the audiovisual sector, the Commission adopted a decision which allows for Bulgarian participation in the MEDIA Plus (2001-2005) and MEDIA Training (2001-2005) programmes. Participation in this support programme for the European audiovisual industry came into effect in January 2002. A national media office was set up in 2004 and its director appointed in April 2004.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

Last updated: 12.01.2006
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