Country Information Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a country in South Eastern Europe, with a territory of 110,994 square kilometres. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. Bulgaria is a unitary parliamentary republic with a clear division of powers.

The Bulgarian Parliament - The National Assembly is a one-chamber parliament. Parliament's powers and tasks include adopting laws, controlling the executive, approving the budget, scheduling presidential elections, electing and recalling the prime minister and other ministers, proclaiming war, deploying troops outside Bulgaria, and ratifying international treaties and agreements. Since 2006, the National Assembly has elected an ombudsman who advocates the rights and freedoms of citizens.

The President of the Republic is elected directly for a 5-year term. He/she is the head of state, Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board. 

The Government of Bulgaria (the Council of Ministers) manages and implements the domestic and foreign policies of the country. The Council of Ministers directs the implementation of the state budget, organises the care for public goods, concludes, approves and denounces international agreements, in cases defined by laws. The Council of Ministers and the Prime minister are appointed by the Parliament.

Bulgaria has a typical civil law legal system. The judiciary is overseen by the Ministry of Justice. The Supreme Administrative Court and the Supreme Court of Cassation are the highest courts of appeal and oversee the application of laws in subordinate courts. The Supreme Judicial Council manages the system and appoints judges. 

Bulgaria's population is mainly concentrated in the administrative centres of its 28 provinces. Most commercial and cultural activities are centred in the capital and largest city, Sofia.

According to the Law on Measurements (effective since 2002, revised in 2005) the governmental policy in metrology is executed by the Bulgarian Institute of Metrology (BIM) and the State Agency for Metrological and Technical Surveillance (SAMTS).

BIM is the national metrology institute and responsible for the execution of national metrology legislation.

Currently BIM consists of three main directorates:

  • Directorate General 'National Centre of Metrology' (DG NCM) is a part of the specialized administration of BIM which is responsible for maintenance of national measurement standards, traceability and dissemination of measurement units
  • Directorate General 'Measures and Measuring Instruments' (DG MMI) is a part of the specialised administration of BIM, which carries out activities on realization of legal control of measuring instruments, - type approval, initial and subsequent verifications, metrological expertise, conformity assessment of non-automatic weighing instruments and measuring instruments; calibration of some types of measuring instruments (additionally DG MMI is in charge of other activities, out of the field of legal metrology - verification of petrol vapor recovery systems; authorisation and surveillance of verification laboratories of petrol vapor recovery systems, control of gambling machines and fiscal devices, registration of services for fiscal devices and testing of products for electromagnetic compatibility)
  • Directorate General Administration (D GA) is responsible for activities like Human Resources, Accountancy, Administrative and Legal Activities, Properties Management, International Cooperation, etc.

SAMTS is responsible for supervision of manufacturers, importers, repairers and users of measuring instruments subject to control under the Law on Measurements; authorisation and surveillance of verification laboratories; market surveillance on measuring instruments under MID and NAWI; control of prepackages and MCB. These activities are performed by Directorate General “Metrological Supervision” (DG MS). DG MS is also responsible for approval and surveillance of tachograph workshops under Council Regulation (EEC) No 165/2014.

In addition, two national advisory bodies have been established:

  • National Council of Metrology to the Minister of Economy for reviewing drafts of legislation, programs and concepts for metrology development
  • Scientific Council of Metrology to the President of BIM for reviewing drafts within the long-term development programme for the national measurement standards, the national system of certified reference materials

The first Law on Weights and Measures in Bulgaria was adopted in 1888. Bulgaria joined the Metre Convention in 1910 and OIML in 1956.

BIM is a signatory of the Memorandum of Understanding of WELMEC and is a member of EURAMET.

  • Material length measures
  • Automatic weighing instruments
  • Non-automatic weighing instruments
  • Clinical thermometers
  • Heat meters
  • Blood pressure measuring instruments
  • Pressure gauges used in high-risk equipment and rail transport
  • Water meters
  • Measuring systems for liquids other than water
  • Gas volume meters and conversion devices
  • Automatic level gauges systems
  • Brake testing equipment
  • Alcohol meters and alcohol hydrometers
  • Thermometers for use in alcoholometry
  • Opacimeters
  • Vehicle exhaust emission meters
  • Dosimeters
  • Taximeters
  • Various instruments and systems in the field of ionising radiation for personal safety, health and environmental protection
  • Electric energy meters
  • Instrument transformers
  • Electrocardiographs
  • Clocks for multi-tariff energy meters
  • Audiometers
  • Speed meters for traffic control
  • Evidential breath analysers
  • Foci meters

Type approval of legally controlled measuring instruments is performed by BIM. Type approval is carried out at the stage of manufacturing or import of those instruments. According to the current legislation, national type approval is mandatory to several categories of measuring instruments:

  • pressure gauges with a range above 500 mbar
  • water meters for impure water
  • level gauge systems
  • flow meters and measuring systems for CNG
  • brake testing equipment
  • alcohol meters and alcohol hydrometers
  • dosimeters
  • instruments and systems for ionizing radiation
  • static electrical energy meters for active (0,2S) and reactive energy
  • instrument transformers
  • speed meters for traffic control
  • opacimeters
  • evidential breath analysers

Approved types of measuring instruments are entered in a public register and information about them is monthly published in the website of BIM.

In the process of type approval, testing can be avoided, if applicant is able to submit testing reports, issued by an accredited laboratory or by a national metrology institute.

Recognition of type approvals, granted by EU and EEA countries, or Turkey, is possible, if:

  • a manufacturer or importer can submit evidence for national type approval of the above-mentioned measuring instruments, and 
  • those instruments comply with the requirements laid down in the Ordinance on measuring instruments, subject to control

The initial verification and the reverification of measuring instruments are performed by BIM or by verification laboratories authorised by SAMTS.

Authorisation of laboratories for verification of some categories of measuring instruments is possible, if they are third independent party in view of the verifications they apply for and dispose of: 

  • measurement standards of guaranteed traceability, and valid certified reference materials
  • premises or mobile laboratories allowing the implementation of the specified verification methods
  • appropriately educated and qualified personnel
  • quality system in compliance with EN ISO/IEC 17025

Manufacturers of measuring instruments having certified quality systems can be authorised for initial verification (and reverification after repair) of their own production. 

Categories of instruments, which are possible to apply for authorisation, are: utility meters, pressure gauges used in rail transport, speed meters, braking trace measuring systems, breath analysers, gas analysers, opacimeters, clinical dosimeters, individual dosimeters used in nuclear power plants.

The reverification intervals are determined on a proposal of the President of BIM and laid down in an ordinance of the President of SAMTS, which is published in the State Gazette. The reverification intervals for some categories of measuring instruments are:

  • Water meters: 2 years or 5 years depending on the nominal flowrate
  • Heat meters: 2 years or 5 years depending on the place of installation
  • Gas meters: 2 years or 4 years depending on the type
  • Electricity meters: 1 to 6 years depending on the type of operation (direct or transformer operated)
  • Weighing instruments: 1 year or 2 years depending on the accuracy class
  • Traffic control speed meters: 1 year
  • Vehicle exhaust emission meters: 1 year
  • Fuel dispensers: 1 year

For utility meters there is a possibility to extend the reverification interval by applying statistical sampling methods.

The maximum permissible errors for measuring instruments in service are generally the same as the ones for initial verification.

The fees for all metrological services within BIM are determined in a tariff adopted by a governmental decree. The authorised verification laboratories set their own verification fees.

176 employees of BIM are in charge of legal metrology activities in the country. 20 of them carry out testing and other activities needed for the type approval process, and 156 deal with initial verification and reverification as well as metrological expertise of measuring instruments. 

The personnel of DG MS consist of 72 engineers, physicists and chemists who perform all tasks of SAMTS related to legal metrology. They have past training in EN ISO/IEC 17025 and EN ISO 19011. The majority of inspectors have previous experience as verification officers.

Sanctions are based upon a system of administrative penalties imposed by SAMTS. The amount of the financial penalties varies from € 100 to € 7500 depending on the violation nature, extent and repeatability.

Approach used for adopting the harmonised European technical legislation in Bulgaria is through a law, namely the Law on technical requirements to the products. Under this law, there are several national ordinances, which transpose the New Approach technical directives, including NAWID and MID.

BIM is a notified body NB. 1957 for NAWID and MID:

BIM has been notified for Module B, Module D, Module D1, Module F, Module F1 and Module G.

There are no formal gravity zones /as referred in Annex II point 7.2/ established in Bulgaria. NAWI must respect the required MPE at the place of use.

SAMTS is in charge of market surveillance and designation of notified bodies.

This Directive is transposed for all categories of measuring instruments except for the dimensional measuring instruments.

BIM has been notified for Module D and Module F of water meters, gas meters, active electrical energy meters, thermal energy meters and measuring systems for liquids other than water as well as Module D for conversion devices.

SAMTS is in charge of market surveillance and designation of notified bodies.

Bulgarian Institute of Metrology (BIM)
Mr Paun Ilchev
Acting President of BIM
52 B, Blvd G.M. Dimitrov, 1040 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: +359 2 970 27 73/+359 2 873 52 72

Mr Valentin Starev
General Director
52 B, Blvd G.M. Dimitrov
1040 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: +359 2 970 27 39

Ms. Pavlina Danailova
General Director
52 A, Blvd G.M. Dimitrov
1797 Sofia, Bulgaria

The following is for information only:

There are no formal gravity zones established in Bulgaria.

Weighing instruments must respect the required mpe at the place of use.


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