Commission Midday Express, 12 September 2007
The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health has voted in favour of granting transitional periods to 378 meat and 208 milk establishments in Bulgaria , so that they have more time to make the necessary improvements to meet EU structural requirements. Prior to accession, the Bulgarian authorities did not request transitional periods for these establishments, as other accession countries had done for the establishments in their territories which had not yet met EU standards. Moreover, the Bulgarian implementation of EU control rules was not satisfactory. Therefore, a restrictive measure had to be taken against all Bulgarian milk and meat establishments, preventing them from partaking in intra-Community trade. An exemption from this restrictive measure was only granted to a small number of establishments which were able to provide specific guarantees and which were checked by the EU's Food and Veterinary Office.
Progress has now been made in Bulgaria 's implementation of EU control rules, and therefore the restrictive measure will now be repealed. Bulgarian milk and meat establishments will be given until the end of 2009 to upgrade to EU structural standards. In light of this new situation, the Standing Committee also agreed to adapt the decision concerning transitional measures for the quality of raw milk in dairies (see IP/06/1641). Establishments in transition are allowed to continue selling their products on the Bulgarian market, but will not be allowed to send them to other Member States, and their products will carry a specific mark to identify them.
The situation in Bulgaria is now similar to that of other new Member States after accession.