Bulgaria does not have the right to restrict the freedom of movement of its nationals within the EU solely on the grounds that they owe private debts, the European Union Court of Justice has ruled, the Sofia New Agency reported on Friday.
Judges at the Luxembourg-based ECJ delivered their verdict in the case of Hristo Byankov, whose freedom of movement was restricted because of debt he owed to an individual.
Under European Union legislation, member states may not invoke public policy, public security or public health to serve economic ends.
In Russia, a non-EU member, failure to pay any debt may result in travel ban imposed by court and enforced by bailiffs.
In the first six months of the current year the Federal Bailiffs Service imposed over 233,000 temporary travel bans, about a quarter of those on alimony debts.
Russian bailiffs received the right to impose travel bans in 2008. Earlier this year the State Duma tightened the debt law, enabling courts to confiscate a debtor’s personal property regardless of whether it has been acquired legally or illegally.