News on Bulgaria

London, 31 July 2015

On 16 July 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a preliminary ruling in a case of alleged discrimination on grounds of ethnicity, referred to it by a Bulgarian court. In a welcome decision, the Court provided important guidance on the application of Directive 2000/43/EC (the Race Equality Directive) to a determination of whether an electricity company’s placing of electricity meters in majority-Roma districts at a height where users could not read them was discrimination. In so doing, the Court made comments which indicate its support for a finding that the practice constitutes direct discrimination.

On 25 March 2010, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), in the case of Paraskeva Todorova  vs.  Bulgaria (Application no. 37193/07), ruled that the Bulgarian courts had discriminated against a Romani woman, in deciding to impose a custodial rather than the suspended sentence recommended by the prosecution.  The ECtHR found that in so doing, the Bulgarian courts had motivated their decision on the basis of her ethnic origin.