May 18, 2022

EU calls on Bulgaria and Germany to start using new format of residence permit for third country nationals

The European Commission has urged the Bulgarian and German authorities to start using the new format of residence permit cards for third country nationals.

In 2017, the European Commission amended the regulation to introduce the new format of residence permit cards which also included improved features that rely on biometric data to prevent forgery. However, the new format was not used by Bulgarian and German authorities, according to the European Commission, reports

The recent violations of EU laws by the two countries were exposed in the European Commission’s September infringement package, in which the Commission takes legal action against all countries in the bloc that fail to meet their obligations in under EU law.

“The Commission is now sending letters of formal notice to Bulgaria for not having implemented and to Germany for not having correctly implemented the new card format for residence permits for nationals of third country (Regulation (EC) 1030/2002) ‘ the statement issued by the European Commission reads.

New residence permits were to be implemented in Bulgaria before July 10, 2020; however, the European Commission noted that the new format is still not applied by the authorities in Sofia.

“In some cases, Germany still issues residence permits, European blue cards and cards for intra-company transfers in sticker format, with unlimited validity for cases of exceptional difficulties. The sticker does not include biometric data of the face or fingerprints, which makes it difficult to verify the identity of the holder ”, revealed the statement released by the European Commission.

If Bulgaria and Germany do not take any concrete action in this regard within two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion.

However, Bulgaria and Germany are not the only EU countries where the Commission has been asked by the Commission to comply with EU laws.

Earlier this year, the Commission made a formal request to the Hungarian authorities, calling on them to comply with EU asylum law after opening infringement proceedings in November.

Hungary has received the latest warning to comply with EU asylum law; otherwise, the Commission would take the case to the Court of Justice of the EU. Such an announcement was made in the European Commission’s infringement decisions package of February 2021.

In 2020, the European Commission sent reasoned opinions to the Lithuanian, Slovak and Croatian governments, calling on the authorities in these countries to respect EU laws. At the same time, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Bulgaria, urging the leaders in Sofia to replace their national rules with EU law which, among other things, supports the rights of passengers who have had to cancel their travel arrangements due to the Coronavirus situation.

“These national rules infringe the provisions of this European directive and weaken the rights of consumers”, the Commission pointed out at the time.

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