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From the time it’s an EU member Bulgaria set itself as a reliable and known trading partner. Businesses from all kinds recognize it as a prospective destination for investments. In the article “Company Formation in Bulgaria,” we looked into some popular corporate formations.

In this article, we’ll talk about choosing a law firm and some specifics of the Bulgarian market. Legal matters are of great importance when you want to establish a business in a foreign country. The law firm will assist you with legal advice and legal representation, if necessary. Choosing the right legal partner saves you the stress and the expenses.

Why choose a Bulgarian law firm?

  • A Bulgarian law firm knows the law and its enforcement from first hand.

Bulgarian laws, like any other country’s laws, have countless specific details. Their thorough understanding and enforcement require great dedication and experience. A Bulgarian legal advisor or law firm would have this comprehensive understanding. A local law office working with foreign clients naturally has accurate knowledge about both Bulgarian and international law.

  • Knowledge of institutions and their working culture

Every administration has its own rules. Bulgarian legal practitioners are familiar with those of Bulgarian institutions. Knowing how the administration works and the details surrounding necessary legal steps could be of great importance. 

  • Valuable insights and local background

A local lawyer can give insight into the market situation and the banking and finance system. You want to invest in real estate on the Black Sea, for example. A local law office can advise on favourable properties and partnerships. Legal advice from a law firm with local background knowledge can save you money, time and issues.

What type of law firm would suit your legal needs?

Your legal needs depend on the type of business you want to establish. A physical person could benefit from the services of a sole lawyer. Most of the companies would need more comprehensive legal service for their scope of activities. A business aimed at renewable energy requires different expertise from a transportation company.

It’s good to have a starting point and know what type would suit your needs best. There are three options for legal advisors in Bulgaria. We will discuss each of them shortly to present you with the possibilities you have.

A Sole lawyer or attorney at law

This is a law firm founded and owned by one legal practitioner.  Often sole lawyers work alone. Sometimes the sole lawyer can hire other legal practitioners to work on legal matters that are not in his competency.

Sole lawyers are normally competent in one or two coherent law areas, such as family law and inheritance law, for example. This could limit your possibilities in terms of areas of expertise. Especially if you are looking to establish a more complex business structure. Then you will need legal advice in multiple areas of law.

Also, however, experienced a sole lawyer might be, he can take only a certain amount of workload. In some cases, the legal services of a partnership law firm would suit your legal needs better.

A Law Firm

A law firm is a partnership between legal practitioners and includes at least two lawyers. Naturally, the members of such partnership must have the right to practise. Besides, a lawyer could be a partner only in one law firm.

Because of their specific law firms normally allow larger teams with competences in many law areas. Such a firm can provide legal aid for all your corporate departments.

You can receive legal advice on commercial law, labour law and tax law, for example. Additionally, a law firm can distribute the workload between its legal practitioners. Thus, it can cut the time for executing necessary legal steps.

Often foreign businesses prefer to work with law firms as the legal assistance is more comprehensive. The possibility to have legal representation for almost every area of Bulgarian laws is a great benefit of partnership law firms.

Law firms and their legal practitioners are not allowed to represents clients with contradicting interests. This is another benefit of this formation.

Things to consider when choosing a Bulgarian law firm

As mentioned before, a local law firm is a preferred choice for the more comprehensive knowledge of local law practice and administrative rules. However, there are thousands of lawyers in Bulgaria and even more law firms. It is important to choose the best legal partner. We try to cover a few main aspects to look for.

Does the law firm provide legal advice in the fields you require?

Naturally, you want to search for a law office or solicitor with expertise in the fields you require. 

Law firms often provide services in multiple areas. Usually, they have in-house experts for linked fields of law. For example, a law firm can have experts for property law and administrative law. This is convenient if you want to establish a company in Bulgaria or open a representative office. 

It is important to check the expertise of the law firm. If you need a consultation about investment in Bulgaria, a law firm specialising in family law won't help. Oftentimes, you can rely on a great scope of services in a law firm.

Experience and expertise

You should consider the years of practice the experts have. Lawyers with years of experience better understand the practical application of the law.

It is advisable to choose a law firm with experts who have at least several years of experience. Meet its representatives and talk about your requirements. The conversation will show you the experience and the understanding of the experts.

Is the law firm recognized by trusted local and international associations?

Local and international associations recognise trustworthy law firms. You can check if the law firm collaborates with national or international institutions. International legal ratings such as Legal500 and Chambers and Partners experts distinguish law firms that provide legal services of the highest standard. This information will assure you that experts with comprehensive knowledge work in the company and may provide full service.

Is the law firm present in a Bulgarian Bar Association?

The establishment of a law firm in Bulgaria requires certain actions. One of them is the registration of the firm in a public register and the respective Bar Association, e.g. Sofia Bar.

A simple thing to do beforehand is to check if the law firm is present in those registers.

Danailova, Todorov and Partners is a renowned law firm with years of experience in international and Bulgarian law. Through the years the company is distinguished by several international legal institutions. Among them are Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.

This is what the internationally recognised ranking companies wrote about Danailova, Todorov and Partners Law Firm:

Legal 500: “Highly regarded for its public transport infrastructure expertise”

Chambers and Partners: “Well-respected domestic firm that is a popular choice for construction, manufacturing, transport and recruitment clients”

Danailova, Todorov and Partners collaborate with the IFC and World Bank and other worldwide financial institutions. The legal experts working with the company have expertise in a wide range of areas. Such as corporate law, real estate, labour and tax law, public procurement, transport and renewable energy law to name a few. The law firm provides its clients with key-turn solutions and full scope of services. 

Family law and criminal law are not among the expertise of the company. But you can count on us for any other legal issue: from the draft of documents to dispute resolutions. Read more about our service and contact us. We will be pleased to support you!

How to register a company in Bulgaria?

Last several years, Bulgaria proved to be a desirable hub for foreign business owners and entrepreneurs. The country has seen a rise in company registrations within different economic sectors. 

Bulgaria offers good opportunities for lots of sectors. IT companies, transport and industrial businesses, manufacturers, telecommunication centres find the environment perspective. Bulgaria sets itself as a favoured investment destination. It is a developing market with low tax rates on the income and affordable accounting services. Bulgaria has easy access to the European market and expert professionals at hand.

If you also explore the possibility of opening a business in Bulgaria, this article will give you a basic idea about the company registration procedures and possibilities.

Who can register a company in Bulgaria?

Anyone who has 18 years of age can register a company in Bulgaria. Under Bulgarian law, there are no restrictions concerning once nationality. A foreign company may register its Bulgarian subsidiary. Thus the foreign equity participation in a Bulgarian company can be up to 100%. 

What are the possible corporate entities?

There are several options you can choose from when opening a business in Bulgaria. Under the Bulgarian law, you can open a company under one of the following forms of legal entities:

  • Limited liability company
  • Joint-stock company
  • General partnership
  • Limited partnership and
  • Partnership limited by shares

In this article, we will cover only two of those legal corporate forms. They proved to be popular among foreign investors. Businesses often display their products or services in Bulgaria through these corporate entities. They might as well be the best option for your needs, too.

Limited Liability Company or Sole-owner Limited Liability Company

This is suitable business entity for both small to medium investors and large companies for the required minimum of BGN 2 capital. The shareholders in LLC have limited liability to the amount of the registered capital. The corporate governance structure is fairly simple. It comprises a general meeting of shareholders and manager/s who represent it before third parties.

The fee for registering a limited liability company is BGN 110 BGN. If you or your lawyer submit the documents electronically, the fee is BGN 55. To reserve the name of your company, you must pay a fee of BGN 40 or BGN 20 if you send the application online. The responsible authority before which you should apply for registration is the Commercial Register.

Joint-Stock Company

The formation of a joint-stock company requires a registration capital of BGN 50,000. At least 25% of the capital has to be paid-in at the moment of registration. The joint-stock Company is more popular among large foreign investors. 

There are no regulations on transferring shares for joint-stock companies in Bulgaria. With joint-stock companies, the legal personality is separate from the shareholders, so there is no actual ownership. A shareholder can transfer or sell his company stock without an effect on the continued existence of the company. 

The fees for the registration of the joint-stock company are higher:  BGN 360 filed on paper or BGN 180 BGN if filed electronically. 

If your joint-stock company will provide bank or insurance services, the fees will be respectively BGN 1300 BGN or BGN 650 for online registration. The tax for a company name reservation is the same as for the LLC: BGN 40 or BGN 20 (for online reservation). 

What necessary legal steps should you take to open a company in Bulgaria?

The overall process of registering a Bulgarian company is not complicated. 

There are certain documents that you must file with the Commercial Register. You will need a Bulgarian bank account and a legal address. A legal practitioner or a law firm may help you with the documents. Some of the documents shall be verified by a notary public. 

The first thing to do is to confirm with the Commercial Register if your company’s name is free. Note that you can register a company in Bulgaria only with a name in Cyrillic. You can add a Latin name, but the Cyrillic one is obligatory. 

The following necessary steps are the same for both LLC and Joint-stock companies: the executives should hold a Meeting of Incorporation and deposit the company capital into a special capital raising account. If your business provides specific products or services in Bulgaria, you might need authorisation by the competent authority.

What possibilities do you have if you are not in Bulgaria?

If you are not present in Bulgaria, you can go to a Bulgarian embassy or consulate and authorise a third party to deposit the capital on your behalf. To do this, you must sign a power of attorney. You can sign the document before a notary or in the embassy/consulate. Depending on the country, if you sign the power of attorney before a notary, the document will require an apostille. 

Note that when certifying the power of attorney you have to certify the specimen of the signature of the director as well (its notarization is obligatory). 

Another important thing to remember is that you can grant the opening of a bank account to any thrusted person. It is not the same as with the power of attorney for company registration. You can authorise only a lawyer.

How long would it take to register a company in Bulgaria?

Typically, the company formation in Bulgaria takes up to three business days after the responsible legal body receives the application. 

If you look forward to starting a business in Bulgaria and need legal assistance, we will be happy to help you. Our team of legal experts has comprehensive experience in a wide variety of areas and we can assist you on the company incorporation. Read more about our services and contact us. 

13 November 2019

From the time Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007, it increasingly turns into a destination for prospective business investments. More and more foreign companies from various economic sectors find that Bulgaria has a favourable business environment. The competition is sound and entrepreneurs consider the market "developing" with various sectors still expending. 

If you are looking forward to your first business trip to Bulgaria, this article might be of help. In it, we discuss what is the currency in Bulgaria and what are the specifics of the exchange rates, share advice on where and how to exchange money in Bulgaria and other useful information. In the end, you will be more certain about your travelling expenses and your travel to Bulgaria.

What currency does Bulgaria use?

The official currency used in Bulgaria is called lev. Interestingly, the word for it derives from the old Bulgarian language and means "lion". One lev is divided into 100 stotinki. Stotinki are the local lev coins and are basically the equivalent of pennies and cents, for example. From 1999 on they have denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 stotinki and 1 and 2 leva (coins). Lev notes come as 5,10, 20, 50, 100 leva. If you are curious about the history of Bulgarian currency, the article in Wikipedia is good enough to introduce you to the topic.

The Bulgarian currency rate

The Bulgarian currency exchange rates are more or less stable. If you travel from the European Union things are simpler. The Bulgarian currency exchange rate for the euro is fixed, and the calculation is easy. 1 EUR equals 1.95 Bulgarian leva (BGN). The American dollar and the pound sterling though don't have fixed exchange rates. Nevertheless, their rates are stable and you can expect fluctuations around the following numbers 1 GBP = 2.23 BGN and 1 USD = 1.77 BGN. A trusted source to confirm the Bulgarian currency exchange rate for your local currency is the Bulgarian National Bank. They update the information on the website daily. It could also be a good source for other relevant financial information.

The Bulgarian currency and the Euro

If you travel to Bulgaria from the EU, it is important to know that the country is not a member of the Schengen area.

Bulgaria committed to switching its currency to the euro back in 2007. Still, the country hasn't yet fulfilled all of the euro convergence criteria and is not part of the EU's official exchange rate mechanism (ERM II). In 2011, the adoption of the euro was postponed until after the Eurozone crisis. And recently, in January this year, the Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov expressed hope to introduce the euro in 2022.

Therefore transactions in Bulgaria are still made only in Leva/BGN. Don't be surprised though if you see prices in EUR if visiting popular tourist places. This is common for Bulgaria and is done for the convenience of foreign visitors. Hotels, restaurants and bars, taxies and shop, SPA centres and other facilities except for payments only in Leva, so be cautious if someone suggests that you pay in EUR. 

Where to obtain Bulgarian Currency?

Cash payments are still very popular in Bulgaria and it is advisable to have Bulgarian currency in cash at all times. Understandably, the best place to exchange your local currency is at any bank. Another option is a reputable exchange office. There are such in Sofia and most big towns. All foreign exchange offices are obliged to display tables with the Bulgarian currency rates and the text "No Commissions" as they are not allowed to take commissions for the exchange of currency anymore.

Hotels and airports also provide money exchange, but their rates are normally lower.

Do not trust people that suggest you buy Bulgarian currency from them on the street. It is not a common thing to happen, but if it does happen, ignore it.

Use of Debit or Credit card in Bulgaria

Many places in big towns accept payments with Debit cards and Credit Cards. All major European and North America cards are accepted in Bulgaria. You can use your Mastercard, Maestro, Visa, Diners Club. American Express is also accepted at many places, but be sure to confirm that beforehand. 

In all big towns, at gas stations, restaurants and shops you can find POS terminals and ATMs. You can withdraw 400 Leva at a time from an ATM. The fees for the exchange will depend on your card and bank so you might want to confirm them in advance.

Keep in mind that in very small towns and villages you might not find ATMs or a foreign exchange office, so if you are about to visit a rural area we advise you to have Bulgarian currency in cash.

We also recommend that you call your card company and inform them that you are going to use your card in Bulgaria. Sometimes they can freeze your account if they see many payments made abroad.

Bitcoins and Bulgarian currency

Despite bitcoins and other virtual currencies are known in Bulgaria, they still are not a popular method of payment. There are only four ATMs for bitcoins in total - two are placed in Sofia, one is in Plovdiv and one is in Varna. The exact locations are available here.

Bulgarian currency and travel expenses

Bulgaria is popular for its lower prices compared to other Western and Scandinavian countries, for example. With your travel money exchanged to Bulgarian currency, you can enjoy splendid meals and services. For example, a business dinner for two people in a nice and respectful restaurant in Sofia would be no more than 50 euros. In smaller towns, the prices are normally in half.

Public transport is well-arranged and accessible in Sofia and other major towns like Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas. In Sofia, you can use the metro from almost every part of the city and a two-way ticket is 1.6 euro. Metro and buses are available from and to the Airport.

If you prefer a taxi, it could cost about 10 euro, depending on the distance. We advise you to confirm the taxi company with your hotel or at the airport.

Business etiquette

Some important parts of the Bulgarian business etiquette include punctuality and a business dress code. If you are going to be late it is advisable to call ahead. The business dress code is similar to other countries and depends on the industry. However, provocative clothing is highly unacceptable. In general, there are no specific taboos in Bulgaria.

Bear in mind that Bulgarians like to talk, communicate and show emotions. An interesting fact to know - they have different head gestures to indicate "no" and "yes" opposite to other cultures. Shaking the head from side to side would mean "yes" and up and down - "no".

Legal matters

Even if you already have settled certain legal matters for your business trip, it is advisable to have a trusted local contact to turn to. "Danailova, Todorov & Partners" is a Bulgarian law firm with an outstanding portfolio and a wide range of competences. Whether you need legal advice or a trusted partner, we can assist you with matters concerning trade law, transport, energy sector, labour law, real estate and other. Read more about our services and don't hesitate to contact us if needed.

 

Author: Lora Karavelova

Date: 16 October 2019

Bulgaria is traditionally a widely preferred destination for cultural, sea and mountain tourism among the population of both Western Europe and the rest of the world. There are lots of solid reasons behind the ever-growing interest towards this small Eastern European country. Above all, they include the rich, well-preserved natural diversity, the affordable cost of living, and the cultural proximity to the rest of Europe and the Slavic cultural region. Last but not least - Bulgaria is roughly two hours away from every major European capital by air. This combination of favorable circumstances makes the country both reachable and exotic, both predictable and full of extraordinary surprises.

Considering all of the above, it comes as no surprise that recently, a growing number of international settlers decide to go beyond tourism and buy their own property in Bulgaria. From senior citizens who seek a calm place to live happily, to young business entrepreneurs and families who want to enjoy a seasonal home by the seashore - Bulgaria is welcoming an increasing number of distinct long-term visitors. 

In the following paragraphs, you can obtain all the relevant information you’ll need before you decide to buy real estate in Bulgaria. Learn about the country’s most popular destinations, the variety of residences on offer, and the legal aspects of the Bulgarian property market.

We will begin by presenting some of the most charming regions of the country, which nowadays experience an ever-increasing real estate demand.  

Sofia and other major cities

The capital of Bulgaria is inevitably among the leading places of interest for foreign buyers and investors. The recent tendency is that more and more people are choosing to invest their money in properties in Sofia mainly to rent or resale them later. Long-term settlers, on the other hand, need to keep a few essential details in mind before choosing the most desirable living area of the city. They include local infrastructure, parking arrangements, kindergartens, and schools.

If you prefer a big and well-arranged but not necessarily cosmopolitan and overcrowded city, there are a few other destinations in Bulgaria, which could be more than satisfactory. The municipalities of Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv, Ruse, Varna, Burgas, and Stara Zagora are “the usual suspects” in the annual “Best city to live in Bulgaria” ranking for the last decade. 

The choice of destination needs to be based on your personal preferences. If historical sights and cultural heritage matter the most you, you will probably feel good in Veliko Tarnovo; if you’re into arts and contemporary vibes - Plovdiv will suit you best; and if you fancy a green, well-established city by the Black Sea coast - Burgas and Varna will match your preference.

The Black Sea coast

Speaking of a sea view, Varna and Burgas are certainly not the only alternatives available. Virtually every beach resort by the Black Sea offers the dream house for sale, which expects its ideal future inhabitants.

The charm of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast lies within its diversity. Along with the shiny, vibrant, and crowdy little towns such as Sunny Beach, Sozopol, and Nesebar, a number of hidden peaceful gems also await for those who would appreciate them. The southern part of the Bulgarian shoreline stands in immediate proximity to the Strandza Mountain. It is, therefore, a great place to simultaneously enjoy the wilderness behind your back, and the seashore at our feet. A considerable part of it is a Natural Reserve, so it is safe to say that this part of the coast is less “polluted” by modern civilization.

Seasonal homes by the coast are currently the most desirable real estate in Bulgaria, and that is why both used and newly built properties are fast to sell. The extensive foreign presence in the area constitutes an international environment, both in terms of culture and property pricing. A recent real estate market study shows that most of the foreign property owners in the area come from Russia, Ukraine, UK, Germany, Poland, Austria, Ireland, Belarus, and others.

Mountain and village homes

Mountain and village homes are not the most prominent, but currently the most rapidly growing part of the real estate market of the country. Two basic kinds of properties present a noteworthy interest for foreign vacationists and settlers - those located near the ski resorts, and those placed somewhere in the heart of the marvelous Bulgarian mountains. 

To begin with, Bulgaria is a distinctive ski tourism destination. If you are a winter sports connoisseur, you probably know that already. Fully-equipped skiing facilities and excellent weather conditions attract visitors from all over Europe to enjoy exercising their favorite sports every year. That’s why locations such as Bansko, Pamporovo, Borovets, or Dobrinishte, realize a huge real-estate market among foreigners. Each of those areas has not only a modern ski lift and kilometers of ski slopes but also a delightful set of wellness opportunities. Buying a property in or around these resorts basically guarantees that you will have a swimming pool, a sauna, hot mineral water, and a Jacuzzi in no more than five minutes of walking. 

Currently, one of the most tempting proposals on the real estate market is the 5-star Pirin Golf & Country Club. The luxurious properties within the resort are equally fascinating for both mountain lovers and business investors. 

If you rather imagine owning your private, solitary shelter in the mountains of Bulgaria, away from the hustle and bustle of the popular tourist destinations, we have a solution for you. Sadly, many Bulgarians have a difficulty with finding satisfactory employment away from the major municipalities of the country. That’s why buying a fully furnished Bulgarian house in some peaceful village is very easy and surprisingly affordable. 

One of the finest places to escape from reality is the magnificent Rhodope Mountain, widely referred to as “the mountain with a soul” - the home of the mythical singer Orpheus. Along with the big guest houses and villas around, there are a number of family homes for sale. Even brief research will give you dozens of options for buying a stable built house of every size, often including a considerable piece of land or a country yard.

The attractive real estate offers, combined with the unbelievable nature and the traditionally well-arranged IT infrastructure in Bulgaria, presuppose the development of the so-called “IT villages.” They are previously depopulated Bulgarian mountain settlements, which come to life by becoming a lively community of foreign IT developers, which use it as their new home and remote office. 

Legal aspects of the Bulgarian real estate market

Once you decide to buy a residence within the borders of Bulgaria, there are several fundamental legal aspects that you need to be informed about.

First of all, check carefully the legal status of the real estate that you are going to buy, i.e.: do your legal due diligence. This is a brief check list:

  • Foreign citizens are allowed to freely buy and sell all types of real estate in Bulgaria. There are no legal restrictions of any character. 
  • The legal framework in Bulgaria is harmonized with the EU legislation, which logically follows the European Union membership of the country. Some minor differences are not unlikely to occur, but the basics will not involve any surprises.
  • You have to thoroughly inspect the property before you proceed with engaging in any arrangements. Start with making sure that there aren’t any encumbrances on the property, such as mortgages or foreclosures.
  • If the real property includes building(s) you have to carefully review the construction documents in order to verify that the legal construction requirements are duly met. 
  • It is also advisable to insist on receiving legal documentation, which proves that the person who sells the property is actually its rightful owner.
  • A good lawyer will provide the client with a comprehensive due diligence request list.

Please consider the following prior to paying the purchase price and executing the purchase agreement:

  • You have to be sure that all material terms and conditions are agreed by the parties in writing. It has to be clear what amount of the purchase price is paid and what are the obligations of the seller.
  • Sign a preliminary agreement if you need more time for conducting a due diligence or if the seller has not gathered all needed papers. Do not involve efforts and do not spend money without having a binding preliminary agreement. 
  • Prepare carefully the execution of the notary deed: request in advance all papers from the seller and coordinate all details with the notary prior to the date of signing. Do not leave anything in the very last minute. The execution of the notary deed is strictly formal procedure and small details may hinder the property transaction.   

Easy as it sounds, real estate buying is a serious endeavor - both in Bulgaria and everywhere else. It is strongly recommended to suit yourself with a knowledgeable and trustworthy lawyer who will protect your best interest during the deal and will protect you from dishonest sellers. 

Danailova, Todorov and Partners law firm has intensive experience in the sales of properties. Our law firm is a regional contributor to Doing Business survey which is published annually by IFC and the World Bank. Danailova, Todorov and Partners provides its clients with comprehensive legal advice and handles the whole life cycle of the transactions of properties.

21 October 2019

Author: DTPLF

The Mobility packages 1, 2 and 3 are initiatives of the European Commission for improving the European legislation in the transport sector. Each of the initiatives includes amendment proposals regarding social, economical, ecological, technical and other matters. The proposals were met with disapproval from several Eastern European member states, and they were subject to heated debates before their voting in the plenary chamber of the European Parliament. With legislative resolutions from 04.04.2019 and 18.04.2019 the European Parliament adopted the texts of four regulations and three directives in connection with the proposals made by the European Commission. Some of the legislative amendments have already entered into force.

  1. Directive for amendment of the rules for posting drivers in the road transport sector (Mobility package 1).

This directive tightens the control on rules for working time and posting of drivers. The amendments are introduced for the purpose of combating frauds in the sector.

According to the new provisions the competent organs will be able to combine checks on posting rules with checks on working time of drivers. The drivers shall also be subject to roadside checks but only after new technologies are implemented which guarantee the checks’ effectiveness. The text adopted by the European Parliament states that up to the implementation of these technologies the transport companies shall be subject to checks solely on their premises.

The directive introduces a series of exceptions where the drivers shall not be considered to be posted and where the common posting rules shall not apply. Among the exceptions are the following cases:

  • when the drivers are engaged in international carriage of passengers and:

-  the drivers pick up passengers in the member state of establishment, after which they set down the passengers in another state, including outside the European Union. The reverse hypothesis is also applicable;

-  in cases of local excursions where the drivers pick up and set down passengers in the member state of establishment;

  • the drivers carry out a bilateral transport operation – transport of goods in fulfilment of a contract either from the member state of establishment to another state or in reverse;
  • when an initial or final road leg of a combined transport operation is carried out by the means of a bilateral road transport operation.

Outside of these exceptions the common posting rules shall apply to the road transport companies by observing the principle of equivalent payment for the work done. The common rules shall also apply to cabotage operations.

The EU member states are granted the option to choose between several different measures with which to control adherence to the rules of the directive. The first measure is the filing of an electronic declaration with information on the posting. This declaration is filed by the drivers before the authorities in the state of posting. The other alternative is an obligation for the drivers to preserve and present, when required, certain documents, including evidence for the conducted transport operation (for example an electronic consignment note e-CMR), tachograph records and others.

  1. Regulation for amending the requirements for daily and weekly driving times, minimum breaks and daily and weekly rest periods (Mobility package 1).

After this regulation enters into force the drivers shall follow new rules regarding the weekly rest periods:

  • in case the weekly rest of the driver has been reduced and he has the right to be compensated with additional resting time, the driver may only combine the additional rest with another regular weekly rest of at least 45 hours.
  • it shall not be allowed to spend two types of weekly rests in the vehicle - the regular ones as well as those of above 45 hours, used as a compensation for previously reduced weekly rests. The drivers shall only be able to spend these rests outside the cabins of the vehicles by being accommodated in places with proper sleeping and sanitary conditions. The drivers shall have the option to be accommodated in their homes or in a different private location.
  • the transport companies shall organize their activities in a way that allows the drivers to spend a minimum of one weekly rest for every period of four consecutive weeks in their homes or at another location of their choice. The transport companies shall provide the drivers with the necessary means to return home in case the drivers have chosen to spend their rest there. If the drivers choose to spend their rests at a different location they shall notify the company twice - before beginning and after finishing their rests.

In addition to the above the regulation obliges the member states to determine “Dedicated parking areas” on their territory. Information for all such areas on the territory of the European union shall be published on an official website. The dedicated parking areas will include numerous servicing facilities, including cooking facilities, shelter, wireless internet and sanitation units.

An option is available for the drivers to go beyond the maximum allowed daily and weekly driving time in case all of the following conditions are present:

  • before going beyond the maximum driving time the driver has rested at least thirty minutes;
  • in a period of two hours the driver can reach the operational center of the road transport company where he is normally based;
  • the driver’s objective is to begin his regular weekly rest;
  • the road safety is not jeopardized.

If the drivers go beyond the maximum allowed driving time under the conditions described above, they shall have the right of an additional two-hour rest which may only be used without interrution and during the three weeks following the week in question.

  1. Regulation for amending the requirements for practicing the occupation of road transport operator and the rules for access to the international road haulage market (Mobility package 1).

3.1. Amendments in Regulation (EC) 1071/2009

The European Parliament has adopted the majority of the amendments in this regulation for the purpose of preventing the registration of “letterbox companies”. These are companies which have their main place of activity in a member state different from the member state of establishment in order to pay lower taxes or for other reasons. The new provisions seek to connect the activity of road transport companies with the member state in which they have been established.

According to the amendments the vehicles shall perform a minimum of one loading or unloading operation every four weeks in the member state of establishment. In addition the companies shall only recruit or employ drivers under the law of their member state of establishment.

3.2. Amendments in Regulation (EC) 1072/2009

With the amendments in this regulation the transport companies will need a community license in case their vehicles are equipped with smart tachographs and if they perform international road haulage operations for their own account or for hire.

The amendments narrow the scope of cases where a license or another permit is not needed. According to the rules before the amendments these were the transport operations carried out with vehicles with a laden mass of up to 3.5 tonnes. With the new provisions a license or permit shall not be necessary for transport operations carried out with vehicles with a laden mass below 2.4 tonnes. A license or permit are also not required in the cases of road haulage on a national level where the vehicles have a laden mass below 3.5 tonnes.

With this regulation the European Parliament has adopted several limitations regarding cabotage operations in order to prevent road haulage companies from carrying them out systematically as a permanent or continuous activity.

Unloading as part of a cabotage operation shall be permitted for a term of up to three days as of the day the driver has unloaded goods in completion of his incoming cross border run in a host member state.

This option shall be available only when explicitly agreed to in a transport contract. After the end of the three-day term the driver shall be able to perform new cabotage operations in the same host member state only when all of the following conditions are met: the driver has returned in the member state of establishment of the road haulage company, sixty days have passed as of the day of the return and the driver has performed a new international transport operation, which has begun from the member state of establishment.

  1. Directive for amendment of Directive 2008/96/EC on road infrastructure safety management.

The European Parliament has adopted amendments in this directive by taking into account the strategic objective of the European union for decreasing traffic accidents on the road networks of member states. The goal is for the road deaths for 2020 to be half the number compared to 2010 and to reach a number as closest to zero as possible around 2050.

The road users shall be able to signalize for road risks through online risk reporting systems. Such reporting systems shall be established in all member states. The European Commission shall create a map of the roads included in the scope of the directive. This map shall be accessible online and shall classify the sections of the road network according to their safety level.

  1. Regulation for defining standards for CO2 emissions of new heavy-duty vehicles (Mobility package 3).

This regulation is adopted in light of the long-term strategy of the European union to decrease warehouse gas emissions in the transport sector. The objective is to decrease warehouse gas emissions by 60% in 2050 compared to their level in 1990. The regulation is published in the Official Journal of the European Union and is currently in force.

According to the new provisions the European Commission shall periodically determine average specific CO2 emissions for manufacturers, zero and low emission factors as well as a specific CO2 emissions target. The data determined in this manner shall be published every year in a list of the European Commission.

In case a manufacturer has an excess level of CO2 emissions on a date from 2025 onwards this manufacturer shall pay an additional premium for excess emissions.

  1. Directive for amending the rules for promoting clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles (Mobility package 2).

According to this new directive when road transport vehicles are acquired by means of public procurement, the contracting authorities and contracting entities shall take into account the energy aspects and the environmental impact of the vehicles. It shall be necessary to comply with minimal percentage targets for clean transport vehicles, acquired by means of public procurement. These percentages are determined in tables attached to the directive and are calculated on basis of the total number of transport vehicles included in the public procurement contracts. 

The directive is published in the Official Journal of the European Union and shall enter into force in 01.08.2021.

  1. Regulation for creating a European maritime single window environment (Mobility package 3).

The purpose of this regulation is to facilitate the reporting and electronic transfer of data on the arrival, departure and stay of ships in seaports of the European union. Over 2 000 000 such events occur annually on the territory of all member states and their reporting takes around 4 600 000 hours. Numerous legal requirements are present with regards to the reporting which are an additional administrative burden for the operators in the field of maritime transport. This raises the necessity of simplifying the reporting procedure.

To this effect the regulation requires that all member states which operate seaports create their national maritime single window platforms. These platforms shall serve as means for electronic transfer of data regarding the arrival, departure and stay of ships in seaports. Each national maritime single window shall have its own website. The national platforms of all member states shall be connected and harmonized, including by the use of a single graphic user interface. The objective is to create a unified European maritime single window environment through which sea transport operators shall perform reporting activities with identical means and under the same requirements, regardless of their location inside the European union.

The unified European maritime single window environment shall include information on identification of ships, location codes, dangerous and polluting goods and a sanitation control database.

The regulation is published in the Official Journal of the European Union and is currently in force.

  1. Assessment of Mobility packages 1, 2 and 3.

Currently only some of the regulations and directives in the Mobility package initiatives have entered into force, while others still await to be approved by the Council of the European Union. The acts adopted by the European Parliament have still not been applied for a continuous period of time. Therefore their impact on the transport sector on the territory of the European Union and particularly in Eastern Europe is yet to be analysed and evaluated.

Author: Boris Krastevich

Date: 3 October 2019