The Bulgarian M.P.s have decided at first reading that banks shall publish their reference interest rates on their respective WebPages
May 27, 2010
The National Assembly has approved at its sitting held on May 27, 2010 the first reading of the amendments to the Consumer Credit Law. The amendments envisage the possibility for every borrower to receive information about the banks’ reference interest rates from their WebPages. Every bank shall publish on the Internet data on its reference interest rate. According to Mr. Martin Dimitrov (Parliamentary Group of the Blue Coalition), one of the authors of the amendment, its aim is to provide the consumers with an opportunity to take an informed decision when choosing a lending bank without visiting its premises .
The reference interest rate (prime rate) is a base for calculating a loan interest rate. Each bank has the right to define the methodology of calculating this rate, which also has to be accessible on the creditor’s WebPage.
In 2009 the Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) has launched 1130 legal proceedings and has enforced fines and property sanctions for a total of BGN 14 416 689. This is pointed out in the Commission’s report adopted by the M.P.s today. 902 of the filed cases are under the Public Procurement Act, 16 are under the Concessions Act and 212 are under the Law on Protection of Competition. In 44 cases the legal proceedings have been launched by a decision of the Commission. A total of 160 proceedings have been launched at stakeholders' demand, seven are on Commission’s decisions returned by the Supreme Administrative Court and one at prosecutor’s request. The number of decisions and rulings by which the Commission has settled the proceedings is 987.
89 proceedings on unfair competition have been launched in 2009. During the same period 77 decisions have been made: 19 on proceedings launched in 2008 and 58 on cases filed in 2009. Infringements have been established with 35 of all cases, in 32 cases no infringement has been found while 8 proceedings have been terminated. Fake products and services and unfair customer attraction continue being the most typical infringements in the field of unfair competition. The Commission’s report highlights the increased number of proceedings on alleged infringement of advertisement rules.
The Parliament has also adopted at first reading amendments to the Extradition Law and the European Arrest Warrant. The amendments initiated by the Council of Ministers are related to guaranteeing the transfer to Bulgaria of persons to serve a detention period. In such cases the Bulgarian court has to request from the warrant issuing country a guarantee for transfer of the person to Bulgaria after completion of the criminal proceedings.
In full compliance with the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant and the extradition procedures between EU member states the amendments are aimed to specify the regulations concerning the conditions for the warrant’s implementation in case of imprisonment sentence. The ungrounded requirement for submission of evidence on the availability of enforced court decision serving as a basis for the issuance of European Arrest Warrant is abolished. According to the initiators of the amendments they would facilitate the activities of the enforcement authorities.
The names of valuators holding termless licenses issued by the Privatization Agency shall be entered in the public registry of the Independent Valuators’ Chamber following the submission of an application with the license enclosed to it. The M.P.s adopted at first reading amendments to the Law on Independent Valuators. The law currently in effect prohibits the professional practice of valuators who have acquired a termless license from the Agency but have not been enlisted in the registry before December 2009. The initiators of the amendments point at the fact that more than 60 percent of the licensed valuators have not had the opportunity to file an application for entry in the registry within the term fixed by the law. The amendment adopted at first reading allows those valuators to practice freely their professional activities.
The Parliament adopted by way of information the 2009 Annual Report of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria. In the past year 2686 complaints have been filed with the Ombudsman, which exceeds by 12 percent the complaints filed in 2008. The total number of tip-offs and complaints filed between 2005 and the end of 2009 is 11 453. The citizens’ complaints are typically related to public services, social activities and property issues.
"The Local Authorities Good Governance National Index" has been measured for the first time in 2009. It is 48,77 points on a scale from 1 to 100. According to the Ombudsman, Mr. Ginyo Ganev, this indicates relatively weak results in the implementation of good governance principles by the local authorities. He highlighted as problematic the area of social services, the lack of respect of the freedom of religion on the territory of the municipalities as well as the forced removal of Romas from their illegally constructed houses.