The European Commission has replied to a parliamentary question on the controversial Bulgarian emergency decree by German MEP Daniel Caspary (EPP). The decree of 13 April 2020 required retailers to allocate “sufficient space” to products from the same administrative district. For some product this local quota was as high as 90%. Caspary sensed a massive distortion of competition with producers from other Member States. The Commission replied on 30 June 2020 stating that it had sent a letter of formal notice to Bulgaria on 15 May, warning Bulgarian authorities that its measures go against EU rules on the free movement of goods and freedom of establishment, and asked the government to respond within a month.
German MEP Andreas Schwab, spokesperson for the internal market for the European People’s Party group, has drafted a compendium of “Member States’ initiatives contrary to the internal market” introduced during the COVID crisis, POLITICO reports. In an interview with POLITICO, MEP Schwab stressed that the list was “not a blame game to Member States” but to raise awareness of the “crazy measures” that were instated, noting a lack of enforcement of existing rules. In addition to the above mentioned Bulgarian measure, Schwab lists the Czech government’s rule forcing traders to sell at least 55% of food from Czech producers from 2021, French and Italian origin requirements on products such as rice, milk and tomatoes, an Austrian “regional bonus” given to shoppers buying local. Croatia set up a sales platform for only Croatian products. Several other countries such as Portugal, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have appealed to their citizens to “buy local” (Source: POLITICO Pro).