The introduction of the European Enforcement Order (EEO) for uncontested claims through Regulation No 805/2004 of The European Parliament and of The European Council has substantially improved the exercising of the rights of individuals and legal entities within the territory of the European Union (except for Denmark (1) and in particular facilitated the enforcement procedures (the collecting) regarding their receivables.
Regulation (EU) 805/2004 introduced minimum procedural requirements for the free movement of court decisions, judicial settlements and public documents, without any intermediate proceedings needing to be brought in the Member State of enforcement prior to recognition and enforcement. The latter led to significant procedural effectiveness and saved further costs to the parties.
I. What is an European Enforcement Order?
The European Enforcement Order Certificate (EEOC) essentially is a document, which accompanies the court decision, court settlement or authentic instrument and contributes to the free enforcement of this act on the territory of each EU Member State.
II. In which cases is an EEO certificate is being issued?
Regulation (EU) 805/2004 establishing an EEO applies to all civil and commercial cases, except tax, customs and administrative cases, as well as the procedure regarding the state liability for actions and omissions during the exercising of its sovereign power. The Act does not apply for the status or legal capacity of natural persons, rights in property arising out of a matrimonial relationship, wills and succession, bankruptcy, proceedings relating to the winding-up of insolvent companies or other legal persons, judicial arrangements, compositions and analogous proceedings, social security and arbitration.
An EEO certificate is issued for the following acts:
- Court judgements, particularly any judgment given by a court or tribunal of a Member State, whatever the judgment may be called, including a decree, order, decision or writ of execution, as well as the determination of costs or expenses by an officer of the court;
- Court settlements, approved or agreed no earlier than 21st of January 2005 (valid for all Member States except for Bulgaria and Romania) or no earlier than 1st of January 2007 (in force for Bulgaria and Romania);
- Authentic instruments – documents formally drawn up or registered as authentic instruments, and the authenticity of which: (1) relates to the signature and the content of the instrument; and (2) has been established by a public authority or other authority empowered for that purpose by the Member State in which it originates; or (3) arrangements relating to maintenance obligations concluded with administrative authorities or authenticated by them.
III. Uncontested Claims
Regulation No 805/2004 applies just for uncontested claims. According to the applicable European legislation, a claim shall be considered uncontested if:
- the debtor has expressly agreed to it by admission or by means of a settlement which has been approved by a court or concluded before a court in the course of proceedings, or
- the debtor has never objected to it, in compliance with the relevant procedural requirements under the law of the Member State of origin, in the course of the court proceedings, or
- the debtor has not appeared or been represented at a court hearing regarding that claim after having initially objected to the claim in the course of the court proceedings, provided that such conduct amounts to a tacit admission of the claim or of the facts alleged by the creditor under the law of the Member State of origin, or
- the debtor has expressly agreed to it in an authentic instrument.
IV. Issuing of European Enforcement Order Certificate
The European Enforcement Order Certificate (EEOC) should be addressed to the competent body designated by the Member State of origin. In generally this is the court that has been seized for rendering of decision on the merits of the case. The claim shall be submitted according to the applicable law in the country, whose court has been seized. The claim for issuing of EEO Certificate could be done any time during or after the initiation of the procedure.
The EEO Certificate represents a standard form, objectified as Annex I, II or III, depending on whether it will be attached to a court decision, court settlement or authentic instrument. The EEO Certificate shall include various information, which could be divided into the following categories:
- information about the parties - name and address;
• details of the claimed amounts - principal, legal interest (if such is owed), the legal interest rate and its commencement date, as of which the legal interests starts being accrued, the amount of the costs;
• information about the grounds of the claim;
• information about the debtor’s rights to contest the claim - procedural requirements for contesting the claim, including the timeframes within which the claim could be contested in writing, consequences of its non-contestation or non-appearance.
V. Enforcement in Bulgaria
As mentioned above, the enforcement of a claim confirmed as uncontested through an European Enforcement Order requires no further proceedings for recognition and (exequatur) in Bulgaria.
Unlike the procedure under Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012, the procedure under Regulation (EC) No 805/2004 requires issuing of declaration for enforceability by the courts of Member State of origin.
The Enforcement in Bulgaria is regulated by Art. 624a of the Bulgarian Civil Procedural Code. The application for issuance of a writ of execution on the basis of the European Enforcement Order for an indisputable claim shall be filed before the District Court at the permanent address of the debtor, at his seat or place of enforcement. The request is not sent to the debtor for preparing of rejoinder thereto. After the execution of a relevant examination by the court, the latter issues an order, whereby the request is granted or denied.
The First Instance Court Order of the District Court could be appealed before the Sofia Appeal Court within two weeks as of the notification has been served to the parties. The commencement date for the debtor is the date, when the invitation from the bailiff has been served to him. The filing of the appeal does not suspend the enforcement procedures. The second instance act of the Sofia Appeal Court is a subject of further appeal before the Supreme Cassation Court.
Once the enforcement order has been issued, the creditor may initiate enforcement proceedings before a private (bailiff) or state judicial officer. The legal provisions of the Civil Procedural Code (Part five) shall apply.
 In this article, "Member State" means all EU Member States excluding Denmark.
 For example, the acknowledgment of debt, given before a public notary in Federal Republic of Germany.
 These include the agreements for maintenance obligations, concluded with or confirmed by the Swedish or Finnish social affairs committees and verified by the latter.