IME

From the European Commission to the Bulgarian notaries

Автор: Svetla Kostadinova / 31.10.2007

The fact that the European Commission (EC) performs reviews of the achievements in Bulgaria and imposes sanctions could prove to be a good policy. Since our society, including the Parliament, could not exercise effective control over the Government, it is as well that there is an external factor.

The probability the country will be sanctioned due to the still existing requirement that the qualified notaries must have a Bulgarian citizenship is real. What is important is that most probably Bulgaria will have to remove this restriction, but it is only one of many, which exists. In addition of citizenship we are talking about fixed prices, mandatory membership and fees to the Notary Chamber, geographic limitations and minimal experience. All these in the last few years is viewed by the EC as a clearly proven obstacle before the development of many professions from one point of view and from another - obstacle to the economy and the users of those services.   In addition to the notaries, this applies to a greater degree for the auditors, pharmacists, architects and engineers.

As it could be seen from the table below, apparently the EC will have a lot of work in subsequent years. It will be interesting to follow the debate in society, since up till now the reverse process was trough - most of the restrictions have been introduced in the last 4-5 years as arguments "protection of the public interest", "protection of quality", "protection of the end users" and "protection of non loyal competition". It is important to know that the EC is determined to remove these restrictions and the European Parliament last year supported this policy. Another important thing is that there are practical examples of countries, which on their own have a low degree of regulation of these fields - Great Britain, Denmark, Holland, Ireland, Finland where the effect is competition, choice and low prices. In other words there is nothing to worry about!

Regulation of selected fields in Bulgaria

Lawyer

Engineer

Pharmacist

Notary

Accounting, Auditing

Architect

- Practice

- Minimal Prices

- Mandatory membership of the bar association

- Recommended Prices

- Advertising is not allowed

- Mandatory membership in the chamber

- Mandatory practice

- Minimal prices

- Registration of the contracts

- Mandatory membership in the Union

- Practice

 - Mandatory pharmaceutical education in order to own a pharmacy

- A pharmacist could open only one pharmacy and is mandated to work there

- The pharmacist could not be simultaneously a owner and distributor

- Requirement about the number of notaries per certain number of people

- Lifetime right to practice the profession

- Fixed prices

- Advertising is not allowed

- mandatory minimal practice

- Mandatory membership in the chamber

- Mandatory Bulgarian citizenship

- Minimal prices

- Mandatory membership in IDES

- Partial limitations on advertising

- Limited public information

- Mandatory practice

- Mandatory membership in a Chamber

- Mandatory practice

- The designers should not be ownerd of construction companies

- Minimal prices

- Registration of the contracts for design

Source: „The degree of regulation of the free professions in the European Union" a research of the Institute for market Economics, June 2007.