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Bulgaria’s Leading Party GERB Changed the State of Emergency Measures Act

Last-minute amendments to the Law on Patents and Utility Model Registration amended the Measures and Actions during the State of Emergency Act, which was in force during the first two months of the health crisis.

Yesterday, the amendments were made at the suggestion of Bulgaria’s leading party GERB in the final wording of the transitional and final provisions of the patent act.

Probably, the government has been hoping that no one will pay attention to what is being voted in such a lengthy bill, with which the majority of the MPs, as well as the public, are completely unfamiliar, „Sega“ writes.

The amendment concerns a specific provision of the emergency measures act, describing the special powers of the bodies managing European Structural and Investment Funds during the state of emergency. The text of the provision states that these bodies may unilaterally amend grant agreements in line with the need for crisis measures; award grants under simplified rules, including without publishing a call for proposals; shorten deadlines in grant award procedures, etc.

The government has now demanded that these powers be extended also during an emergency epidemic situation, in which we find ourselves currently, and 9 months after its abolition.

The stealthy amendment was spotted by BSP (Bulgarian Socialist Party). Socialist MP Ivan Ivanov insisted that the voting be postponed until the next day so that Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev, who is in charge of EU funds, could explain in parliament what it is all about.

“Someone should come here to explain – whether that be a minister or a deputy prime minister – otherwise we will consider it a theft and a cover-up of violations … A stain will be put on this parliament as to being a time machine and a machine for covering up violations,” Ivanov said. However, his proposal was tacitly rejected by the majority.

The ruling party continued with the votes unclear also to them. The wording concerning the controversial amendment was subjected to a particularly confusing renumbering, which puzzled everyone who followed the bill, including plenary session chairman Valeri Simeonov. „Whoever understands what it is about should vote,” said Simeonov finally refusing to understand what is happening with the legislation. Thus, the amendment to the Emergency Measures Act was adopted.

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