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European Commission - Press release

Commission refers Bulgaria to the Court for failing to implement rules on e-passports and e-residence permits

Brussels, 17 November 2016

The Commission decided today to refer Bulgaria to the Court of Justice of the EU for non-implementation of the obligation to create a Single Point of Contact to ensure the mandatory exchange of information under the EU document security legislation.

The establishment of such contact points is mandatory and should allow for the exchange of information necessary to access the fingerprint images stored on e-passports and e-residence permits for third country nationals. The exchange of certificates through Single Points of Contact prevents unauthorised reading of the biometric features stored digitally in the documents and ensures that Member States can securely access information on the chips contained in all biometric passports, travel documents and residence permits issued by other Member States. Bulgaria has not implemented this important part of the EU document security legislation and thereby prevents other Member States from securely accessing and verifying the fingerprints stored on the chips in Bulgarian passports.


All Single Points of Contact should have been operational by 20 May 2012. The Commission sent a Letter of formal notice (LFN) in January 2014 and a reasoned opinion to the Bulgarian authorities in April 2015 and, as Bulgaria has still not implemented the relevant provisions, is today referring Bulgaria to the Court of Justice of the EU.

More information:

- On the monitoring the EU law in the area of security of documents.

- On the key decisions in the November 2016 infringements package, see full MEMO/16/3644.

- On the general infringements procedure, see MEMO/12/12(an info graph).

- On the EU infringements procedure.


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