The Bulgarian government has recently opened public consultations on two documents that will supplement and detail the regulation of concessions in Bulgaria. These documents are the bill for a new Ordinance for the Monitoring, Management and Control of the Concessions (“Control Ordinance”) and a draft for a new Tariff for appeals of concession procedures.

Monitoring

The monitoring of concessions has been newly introduced to Bulgaria. The purpose of monitoring is to improve the concession award process and ensure compliance with European legislation. A special directorate within the administration of the Bulgarian government ( “Directorate”) will monitor the procedures for awarding concessions, and will report to the European Commission. The performance of the concession contracts will be monitored by the concession grantors (ministers or municipalities). They will report to the Directorate. On the basis of the monitoring, the Directorate will summarise practices and issue general guidance on the correct application of concession award requirements. It is not explicitly stated whether this guidance will be binding for concession grantors, concessionaires and controlling authorities.

Management and Control

The Directorate is also entrusted with the preliminary control of concession award procedures, and preliminary control of amendments to concession contracts. This preliminary control will be carried out through statements. The Directorate is entitled to notify the competent state authorities of violations of concession award requirements established during monitoring and preliminary control. The management and control of concession contracts will be performed by the concession grantors (ministers or municipalities). The requirements and procedures for this will be included in the contracts.

The Privatisation and Post-Privatisation Control Agency is entrusted with independent external control over the performance of concession contracts. The independent control will include planned inspections, according to an annual plan, to be approved by the Government; and extraordinary inspections commissioned by the Coordination Council on Concessions (a body appointed by the Prime Minister).

Тhe Ministry of Finance, the National Audit Office, and the State Financial Supervision Agency will also have control functions in the field of concessions, mainly related to the financial aspects of concessions.

Appeal procedures with respect to concessions remain with the Commission for Protection of Competition as first instance, and the Supreme Administrative Court as the final instance.

The Tariff

Similar to the current regime, the proposed state fees for appeals remain relatively negligible considering the values and importance of concessions. First instance appeals will cost appellants approximately EUR 850, and final instance appeals will be EUR 425.

Stakeholders are invited to submit statements on the Control Ordinance and the Tariff by 22 June 2018.

On 29 May 2018, the Ordinance for the financial-economic aspects of concessions entered into force. This ordinance, the Control Ordinance, and the Tariff will make up the whole of the secondary legislation, implementing the new Concessions Act when passed.