In April 2023, in the newly elected 49th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria, a bill was introduced to amend and supplement the Extradition and European Arrest Warrant Act. In the reasons for the legislative proposal, the urgent need to ensure the full implementation of provisions of Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States is highlighted. With a Judgment of 10 March 2021 in Case C-648/20 PPU, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled that the requirements inherent in the effective judicial protection that must be afforded to a person who is the subject of a European arrest warrant for the purpose of criminal prosecution are not satisfied where both the European arrest warrant and the judicial decision on which that warrant is based are issued by a public prosecutor – who may be classified as an "issuing judicial authority" in Bulgaria within the meaning of Article 6(1) of that framework decision – but cannot be reviewed by a court in that issuing Member State.
The text of the bill can be found on the website of the National Assembly: https://parliament.bg/bg/bills/ID/164709.
APIS monitors this legislative initiative in connection with its participation in the FACILEX project co-financed by the EU’s Justice Program. In this project it collaborates with the University of Bologna and five other European academic institutions. The focus of the project is precisely the study of the extent to which national legislations of the EU Member States correspond with the EU rules regarding the mutual recognition of acts within the framework of judicial cooperation in criminal matters. As part of the planned activities, legal experts from nine Member States (Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands) will examine how these countries apply the rules for issuing and executing the European Arrest Warrant as well as the rules on the European Investigation Order and freezing and confiscation orders. The results of the research will be integrated into an online platform providing legal practitioners with a personalised legal assessment of cases in the subject area and a quick reference on the level of transposition of the EU legislation into the national legislation of the Member States.
For the fulfilment of these goals, APIS developed an editor tool with the help of which the legal experts from the nine countries can provide in a unified way information about their national legislation, case law and level of compliance with the EU legislation. On May 4, 2023, an online training was held, where APIS representatives demonstrated to the project partners how to work with the editor tool. After collecting the necessary information from the experts, a freely accessible demo version of the FACILEX platform will be launched in order to be tested by legal practitioners.
More about FACILEX can be found on the project website: https://site.unibo.it/facilex/en.