Bulgaria: Parliament to decide on the Health Law

Bulgaria: Parliament to decide on the Health Law

The Bulgarian National Assembly, in an extraordinary session on May 12, is expected to approve a second reading of the bill amending the health law.

The bill was approved in the first vote on May 8, 2020. The texts have already been approved by the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs and the Cabinet, proposing measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as limiting financial consequences after the end of the state of emergency, which expires on May 13 and will not be extended by the government.

The bill aims to create a legal framework to ensure the delay in the spread of the infection, as well as the smooth running of the health system.

The law must undergo a second reading in the Plenary and be published in the State Gazette before May 13.

On May 10, the deadline for new proposals for changes to the health law expired, which outlined measures against the pandemic after the end of the state of emergency. The proposals of the parties between the first and the second reading literally rewrote the original bill of the cabinet.

The ruling GERB party withdrew the proposal to declare a state of emergency by order of the Minister of Health and introduced a new text – that this should only be done by an act of the Cabinet. The Legal Affairs Committee approved the proposal in a second reading on May 11. Their proposal also outlines the criteria for this, and provides legal definitions of the terms “epidemiological emergency”, “isolation” and “quarantine”.

The same position is supported by the official BSP opposition, whose leader, Cornelia Ninova, along with her colleagues, submitted a similar proposal. The left also demands relief for borrowers, support for unpaid workers during the crisis, and a reduction in VAT on food and medicine.

GERB’s proposals, signed by parliamentary group leader Daniela Daritkova, the party that has already dealt with coronavirus pandemic, also provide for sanctions for failing to implement pandemic measures after the end of the state of emergency on May 13. For all offenders the fine will be from 300 to 1000 leva and in case of repeated violation – from 1000 to 2000 leva.

The partners of the United Patriots coalibalkaneu. for a period of 30 days. If the situation around the disease requires the continuation of the measures, this must be done by decision of the parliament, following a proposal by the cabinet.

The United Patriots also want the measures for overdue loans, which were included in the state of emergency law, to continue to be in force for two months after the end of the state of emergency, to be interest free, to not be characterized as overdue, to not cancel contracts, and to ban property seizures.

One of the rapporteurs for the MRF parliamentary group, Hamid Hamid, has called for the abolition of the two-month deadline for administrative courts to hear appeals against general administrative acts. He also insists on the signing of the law that the actions of the Minister of Health will take effect from the moment of their publication on the ministry’s website./ibna