Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Overview by policy area

In its regular package of infringement decisions, the European Commission pursues legal action against Member States for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law. These decisions, covering various sectors and EU policy areas, aim to ensure the proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.

The key decisions taken by the Commission are presented below and grouped by policy area. The Commission is also closing 135 cases in which the issues with the Member States concerned have been solved without the Commission needing to pursue the procedure further.

For more information on the EU infringement procedure, see the full Q&A. For more detail on all decisions taken, consult the infringement decisions’ register.

1. Environment and fisheries

Environment

Letters of formal notice under Article 260(2)TFEU

Urban waste water: Commission calls on CYPRUS to properly treat urban waste water and comply with Court ruling
The European Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to Cyprus (INFR(2017)2046) for its failure to swiftly and effectively implement the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 5 March 2020 (C-248/19), concerning the insufficient implementation of the urban waste water treatment Directive (Directive 91/271/EEC). To protect the environment and human health, the Directive requires towns and cities to collect and properly treat urban waste water before being discharged into the environment. In its judgment, the Court ruled that in 31 agglomerations, Cyprus failed to ensure that all urban water was collected or that urban waste water entering collecting systems was subject to appropriate treatment before being discharged. To comply with the ruling, Cyprus has committed to build collection networks or new treatment plants for all agglomerations. Progress has been achieved for two agglomerations, where urban waste water is now collected and treated. However, the remaining 29 agglomerations still do not conform to EU rules. Construction works have only started for 13 agglomerations (compliance is expected for end 2023) while for the other 16 agglomerations, compliance is expected to be reached by 2029. The Commission is therefore sending a letter of formal notice based on Article 260 of the TFEU to Cyprus, giving it two months to remedy the situation. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the back case to the Court of Justice of the European Union, with a proposal to impose financial sanctions to Cyprus.

Reasoned opinions

Environmental impact assessment: Commission calls on ESTONIA to improve its national rules on environmental impact assessment of projects
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Estonia (INFR(2019)2109) for its failure to bring its national legislation in line with the Directive on environmental impact assessment (Directive 2011/92/EU). This Directive requires certain public and private projects which are likely to have significant impact on the environment to be subject to an environmental impact assessment before being authorised. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice in July 2019, followed by an additional letter of formal notice in September 2022. Having analysed Estonia’s replies and amendments to its national law in 2020, the Commission concluded that certain shortcomings in transposition have been remedied. However, Estonia has still not correctly transposed certain requirements of the Directive, for instance those relating to projects for the use of uncultivated land or semi-natural areas for intensive agricultural purposes, installations for the manufacture of artificial mineral fibres or installations for the processing and storage of radioactive waste. In addition, the requirement to provide the public with information on the possible decisions taken as the result of the decision-making process has not been transposed. Therefore, the Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion to Estonia, which now has two months to respond and take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Environmental noise: Commission calls on GREECE to adopt strategic noise maps and action plans
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Greece (INFR(2017)2150) for its failure to comply with EU rules on environmental noise (Directive 2002/49/EC). The Noise Directive defines a common approach intended to avoid, prevent or reduce harmful effects due to exposure to environmental noise. EU Member States must adopt noise maps and action plans and revise them on a periodic basis. Strategic noise mapping should be conducted in certain agglomerations and major roads, railways and airports. Action plans should address priorities in those areas of interest and should be drawn up by the competent authorities in consultation with the public. Greece has not adopted or reviewed several noise maps and action plans for various agglomerations and roads. Additionally, some adopted maps and plans do not meet the minimum requirements set by the Directive and have been adopted without the public having been properly consulted. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Greece in December 2017, followed by an additional letter of formal notice in October 2020. Since then, all the grievances remain except in relation to the Athens International Airport. Therefore, the Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion to Greece, which has now two months to respond and take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Environmental noise: Commission calls on LATVIA to fully transpose EU rules on environmental noise
Today, the European Commission decided to send two reasoned opinions to Latvia (INFR(2022)0129; INFR(2022)0132) for failure to update its national laws and comply with EU rules on environmental noise. Directive 2002/49/EC defines a common approach intended to avoid, prevent or reduce harmful effects due to exposure to environmental noise. In 2020, Directive 2002/49/EC was amended by two directives, namely Directive (EU) 2020/367 and Directive (EU) 2021/1226, in order to adapt it to technical and scientific progress. The amendments concern assessment methods for the noise indicators and harmful effects of noise. To date, Latvia has not communicated any transposition measures for the two directives. Therefore, the Commission has decided to send reasoned opinions in the two cases to Latvia, which has now two months to respond and take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Fisheries and maritime affairs

Reasoned opinions

Maritime spatial planning: Commission calls on BULGARIA, GREECE, ITALY, CYPRUS and ROMANIA to establish and send copies of their Maritime Spatial Plans
Today, the European Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to Bulgaria (INFR(2022)2025), Greece (INFR(2021)2226), Italy (INFR(2021)2223), Cyprus (INFR(2021)2227) and Romania (INFR(2021)2224) on failure to ensure proper implementation of Directive (EU) 2014/89 establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning. The Directive sets out a common approach for EU countries to plan their maritime areas. Maritime spatial planning aims to organise human activities in marine areas to meet various ecological, economic and social objectives. Amongst these objectives there are the development of a sustainable blue economy, the sustainable use of marine resources, and the conservation of healthy marine ecosystems and biodiversity. The implementation of the Directive is essential to achieve these objectives as part of the European Green Deal. The Directive requires coastal EU Member States to draw up maritime spatial plans no later than 31 March 2021, and to submit copies of the plans to the Commission and other Member States concerned within three months of their publication. However, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Romania have still not established and sent copies of their maritime spatial plans to the Commission. Therefore, the Commission has decided to send them reasoned opinions. They now have two months to respond and take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

2. Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Letters of formal notice and reasoned opinions

Recognition of professional qualifications: Commission asks GREECE to comply with EU rules
The Commission decided to open an infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to Greece (INFR(2023)4003) for non-compliance of national rules with the EU legislation on the recognition of professional qualifications. These EU rules have contributed to the creation of a modern system for the recognition of professional qualifications and experience across the EU. They make it easier for professionals to provide their services in different Member States, whilst guaranteeing an improved level of protection for consumers and citizens. According to the Commission, Greek rules fail to comply with Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications. In particular, under the Greek law, professionals qualified as career counsellors in other Member States must obtain an academic recognition instead of a professional recognition of their qualifications, to be able to work in Greece.
In another case (INFR(2022)4078) on the non-conformity of Greek legislation with  Directive 2005/36/EC, the Commission has also decided to send a reasoned opinion to Greece. Under the Greek law, professionals qualified as school directors and other education managers in other Member States must obtain an academic recognition instead of a professional recognition of their qualifications to be able to work in Greece.
In both cases, Greek law is contrary to the EU rules, which provides that a professional qualifications recognition procedure must be applied. As the academic recognition procedure is more burdensome than the professional recognition procedure of the Directive, this also results in making access to the Greek labour market harder for these professions. Greece now has two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion to Greece in the first case or decide to refer the second case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Late payment: Commission calls on BELGIUM, GREECE and ITALY to ensure that payments for the delivery of goods and services are done on time
The European Commission decided to open infringement procedures by sending letters of formal notice to Greece (INFR(2023)2027 and INFR(2023)4000) and Italy (INFR(2023)4001) for not correctly applying the rules under the Late Payment Directive (Directive 2011/7/EU). In addition, the Commission also decided to send a reasoned opinion to Belgium (INFR(2019)2299), Greece (INFR(2019)2298) and Italy (INFR(2021)4037) for not correctly applying the rules under the Late Payment Directive.
Late payments have negative effect on businesses, by reducing liquidity, preventing growth, hampering resilience and potentially impeding efforts to become greener and more digital. Under the current economic context, businesses and especially SMEs rely on regular payments to operate and keep employment. The Late Payment Directive obliges public authorities to pay their invoices within 30 days (or 60 days for public hospitals). By complying with these payment deadlines public authorities set a good example in the fight against bad payment culture in the business environment.
The Commission decided to send two letters of formal notice to Greece. The first letter of formal notice concerns late payments to lawyers in the framework of a national state-funded legal aid programme aiming at helping financially challenged citizens in court proceedings. According to the Commission, the practice by the Greek authority responsible for this programme is making it difficult for the lawyers supplying the legal services to receive payment within the time limit laid down in the Directive. The second letter of formal notice concerns a national rule providing for immediate payment of long-standing debts of public hospitals to their private suppliers under the condition that these suppliers surrender their rights to interests, compensation, and judicial remedies. This practice constitutes a breach of EU rules on late payments in commercial transactions, as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The Commission also decided to send a reasoned opinion to Greece following the absence of improvements regarding excessive payment delays by public and military hospitals.
According to the Commission, Italy is not ensuring compliance with the Late Payment Directive in the health sector in the Calabria Region. The Italian law constitutes a breach of the Late Payment Directive for expanding the payment period for debts of public authorities beyond the time limits laid down in the Directive. Therefore, the Commission decided to send Italy a letter of formal notice.
The Commission also decided to send a reasoned opinion to Italy following its failure to include the renting of equipment for wiretapping in criminal investigations under the definition of commercial transactions in its national regulations. By excluding such transactions from the scope of the Late Payment Directive, businesses concerned cannot benefit from the safeguards afforded by the Directive.
Moreover, the Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Belgium for excessive payment delays in the public sector after Belgium was unable to provide comprehensive data and reassurance that sufficient measures are being taken to amend national legislation.
Belgium, Greece and Italy now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion to Greece and Italy and decide to refer Belgium, Greece and Italy to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Referrals to the Court of Justice

The European Commission decides to refer PORTUGAL and SLOVAKIA to the Court of Justice of the European Union for not paying for the delivery of goods and services businesses on time
Today, the European Commission decided to refer Portugal (INFR(2017)2037) and Slovakia (INFR(2016)4131) to the Court of Justice of the European Union for not correctly applying the rules under the Late Payment Directive (Directive 2011/7/EU). The Commission launched the infringement procedure against Slovakia in 2017 for excessive payment delays by public hospitals to their suppliers. These delays hamper the competitiveness and resilience of businesses working in the health sector, especially SMEs, as they often lack liquidity. During the COVID-19 crisis, these businesses have played a crucial role in keeping hospitals operational. Late payments can reduce the businesses’ ability to operate, recruit more staff, or make the necessary investments to grow. In the case of Portugal, the case concerns late payments from several layers of the public administrations. Following the launch of the procedure in 2017, the Commission has monitored the situation closely, but finds that insufficient improvement has been made, in particular in the two autonomous regions Azores and Madeira. A press release is available here.

3. Migration, Home Affairs and Security Union

Letters of formal notice

Third-country seasonal workers: Commission calls BELGIUM, BULGARIA, GERMANY, ESTONIA, GREECE, ITALY, CYPRUS, LATVIA, LITHUANIA and LUXEMBOURG to transpose all provisions of the Seasonal Workers Directive correctly
The European Commission decided to open infringement proceedings by sending letters of formal notice respectively to Belgium (INFR(2023)2016), Bulgaria (INFR(2023)2017), Germany (INFR(2023)2019), Estonia (INFR(2023)2020), Greece (INFR(2023)2021), Italy (INFR(2023)2022), Cyprus (INFR(2023)2018), Latvia (INFR(2023)2025), Lithuania (INFR(2023)2023) and Luxembourg (INFR(2023)2024) for failing to transpose in a fully conform manner all provisions of the Seasonal Workers Directive (Directive 2014/36/EU). The Directive aims at ensuring fair and transparent rules for the admission of third-country seasonal workers to the EU. It also aims at granting decent working and living conditions, equal rights and sufficient protection from exploitation. Ensuring the full respect of the Seasonal Workers Directive is an important prerequisite for attracting the workforce needed for seasonal work to the EU and it could also contribute to reducing irregular migration. The Commission is monitoring the way in which all Member States have transposed this legislation into national law. The Commission considers that these Member States have incorrectly transposed and/or implemented some obligations under the Directive. The addressed Member States have now two months to respond to the arguments raised by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to send them a reasoned opinion.

Reasoned opinions

Commission calls on BULGARIA to comply with the Regulation on laying down a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria (INFR(2021)2127) for failing to issue residence permits according to the new version of the uniform format, which had to be implemented until 10 July 2020. Regulation (EC) 1030/2002 was amended in 2017 (Regulation (EU) 2017/1954) to introduce a new card format for residence permits equipped with upgraded security features and a new more secure design. Failure to implement the more secure format of the residence permit may lead to increased cases of forgery. Bulgaria has now two months to respond and take the necessary measures. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Fight against terrorism: Commission calls on GERMANY, CROATIA, LITHUANIA, LUXEMBOURG, POLAND and FINLAND to ensure correct transposition of EU rules on combating terrorism
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Germany (INFR(2021)2045), Croatia (INFR(2021)2120), Lithuania (INFR(2021)2087), Luxembourg (INFR(2021)2124), Poland (INFR(2021)2046) and Finland (INFR(2021)2126) to correctly transpose certain elements of the EU rules on combating terrorism (Directive (EU) 2017/541). The Directive on combating terrorism is a cornerstone of the EU’s Counter-Terrorism Agenda. It includes provisions that criminalise and sanction terrorist-related offences, such as travelling abroad to commit a terrorist offence, returning to or travelling within the EU for such activities, training for terrorist purposes and financing terrorism. These rules also set out special provisions for victims of terrorism, to ensure they have access to reliable information as well as professional and specialised support services. Member States had to transpose the Directive into national law by 8 September 2018. After assessing national transposing legislation, the Commission sent letters of formal notice between June and September 2021 to these Member States, urging them to take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission with regard to its transposition. The replies from the six Members States did not sufficiently address the Commission’s concerns. The Commission has therefore decided to issue reasoned opinions to these six Member States. They now have two months to respond and take the necessary measures. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union. 

4. Justice

Letters of formal notice and additional letters of formal notice

European Accessibility Act: Commission calls on DENMARK, ESTONIA and ITALY to fully transpose the Directive on accessibility of products and services for persons with disabilities
The European Commission decided to open an infringement procedure by sending letters of formal notice to Denmark (INFR(2023)2014), Estonia (INFR (2023)2013), and Italy (INFR (2023)2015) for failing to fully transpose the EU rules on accessibility of products and services for persons with disabilities (Directive (EU) 2019/882). The European Accessibility Act requires key products and services such as phones, computers, e-books, banking services and electronic communications to be accessible for persons with disabilities. This will help increase active participation in society, including in education and in employment, as well as more autonomy and mobility opportunities of people with disabilities, representing at least 87 million European citizens. Businesses and services must ensure that they comply with a set of common EU accessibility requirements by 2025. On 20 July 2022, the Commission had sent letters of formal notice to 24 Member States for failing to communicate measures fully transposing the Directive.  Denmark, Estonia and Italy have not fully transposed the European Accessibility Act into their national law by the deadline of 28 June 2022. The Commission decided today to send letters of formal notice. Denmark, Estonia and Italy now have two months to take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to send them a reasoned opinion. 

Procedural rights: Commission launches infringement against THE NETHERLANDS and ROMANIA for incorrect transposition of the right of access to a lawyer and to communicate upon arrest
The European Commission decided to open an infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to The Netherlands (INFR(2023)2007) and Romania (INFR (2023)2004) for failing to correctly transpose the Directive on the right of access to a lawyer and to communicate upon arrest (Directive 2013/48/EU). The purpose of the Directive is to ensure that suspects and accused persons in criminal proceedings and persons requested in European Arrest Warrant (EAW) proceedings have access to a lawyer from the earliest stages of the proceedings; and that those who are deprived of liberty may inform and communicate with third persons, such as their employer or family members, as well as with consular authorities. Dutch law provides for exceptions from the right of access to a lawyer in EAW proceedings, which are not allowed under the Directive. Romania failed to correctly transpose exceptions from the right to have a third person informed of deprivation of liberty and the legal conditions under which a suspect or accused person may choose not to exercise the right of access to a lawyer. The Netherlands and Romania now have two months to take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to send them a reasoned opinion.

Combating racism and xenophobia: Commission sends an additional letter of formal notice to ROMANIA to correctly transpose EU law on hate speech and hate crimes
Today, the European Commission decided to send an additional letter of formal notice to Romania (INFR(2016)2075) for an incorrect transposition of EU rules on racism and xenophobia (Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA). The aim of the Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law is to ensure that serious manifestations of racism and xenophobia, such as public incitement to violence or hatred, are punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties throughout the European Union. The Commission had sent a letter of formal notice to Romania in October 2020. Romania responded to the letter of formal notice, and in June 2022, Romania adopted a new legislation aiming at solving the issues of incorrect transposition raised by the Commission. The Commission carefully assessed the new legislation and concluded that the amendments solve the issues raised in the letter of formal notice. However, the new legislation adds an element which narrows the scope of the criminalisation of hate speech in a way that is incompatible with the Framework Decision. For this reason, the Commission decided to send an additional letter of formal notice to Romania who now has two months to take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to send Romania a reasoned opinion.

Gender Equality: Commission calls on BELGIUM to correctly transpose the Directive on equal treatment between men and women at work
Today, the European Commission decided to send an additional letter of formal notice to Belgium (INFR(2015)2012) for incorrect transposition of the Equal Treatment Directive for men and women at work (Directive 2006/54/EC). The aim of this Directive is to ensure the equal treatment of workers regardless of their gender, and to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex in the sphere of employment and occupation, including in vocational training. In April 2015, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Belgium, calling for a full and correct transposition of the Directive. Since then, Belgium has addressed most of the Commission’s concerns, correctly transposing the elements related to equality bodies and job classification systems. However, the implementation remains incomplete for the rules protecting workers from retaliation against employees who lodged discrimination-related complaints. Therefore, the Commission decided to send an additional letter of formal notice to Belgium, which has two months to take the necessary measures to remedy this breach of EU law. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.

Reasoned opinions

Work-Life balance: Commission calls on 11 countries to fully transpose EU rules on work-life balance for parents and carers
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Belgium (INFR(2022)0332), Czechia (INFR(2022)0346), Ireland (INFR(2022)0370), Greece (INFR(2022)0353), Spain (INFR(2022)0355), France (INFR(2022)0360), Croatia (INFR(2022)0362), Cyprus (INFR(2022)0341), Luxembourg (INFR(2022)0374), Austria (INFR(2022)0328) and Slovenia (INFR(2022)0393) for failing to notify national measures fully transposing EU rights on Work-Life Balance for parents and carers (Directive (EU) 2019/1158). The Directive aims to foster equal participation of men and women in labour market, by encouraging equal sharing of care responsibilities between parents. It ensures that fathers have the right to take at least ten working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of the child. The Directive also establishes a minimum of four months of parental leave, with at least two out of the four months paid and non-transferable from one parent to another. It establishes five working days per year of carers’ leave for workers providing personal care or support to a relative or person living in the same household. In addition, it gives all carers and working parents of children up to eight years old the right to request flexible working arrangements. The transposition deadline for the Directive was 2 August 2022. On 21 September 2022, the Commission sent letters of formal notice to 19 Member States for failing to communicate measures to transpose this Directive. After having analysed their replies, the Commission found that the Directive is still not fully transposed in 11 Member States, and therefore decided to take a further step in the infringement procedures by sending a reasoned opinion to Belgium, Czechia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Austria and Slovenia. Member States now have two months to take the necessary measures to comply with the reasoned opinion. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The full press release is available online.

Referrals to the Court of Justice

The European Commission decides to refer SLOVAKIA to the Court of Justice of the European Union for not sufficiently addressing discrimination against Roma children at school
Today, the European Commission decided to refer Slovakia (INFR(2015)2025) to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to effectively tackle the issue of Roma segregation in education of Roma children. The EU rules on racial equality (Directive 2000/43/EC) strictly prohibit discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin in key areas of life, including education. In Slovakia, however, Roma children are often placed in special schools for pupils with mild mental disabilities. Many Roma children who attend mainstream education are also segregated, in separate classes or schools. The Commission started an infringement procedure against Slovakia in 2015 and sent a reasoned opinion in 2019. Since then, Slovakia has undertaken a series of legislative reforms and adopted several strategies and action plans to foster Roma inclusion in education. However, after carefully assessing those measures and monitoring the situation on the ground, the Commission concluded that the reforms undertaken so far are insufficient. The full press release is available online.

5. Energy and climate

Letters of formal notice

Internal energy market: Commission calls on CROATIA to remove restrictions on export of gas and on ROMANIA to remove restrictions on export of electricity
The European Commission decided to open an infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to Croatia (INFR(2023)2031) for restricting the export of gas with measures that are incompatible with Articles 34, 35 and 36 TFEU and Directive 2009/73/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas. The Commission considers that these measures have an equivalent effect to a quantitative restriction on exports (Article 35 TFEU) and to quantitative restrictions on imports (Article 34 TFEU) and cannot be justified under Article 36 TFEU. The Commission also found that the Croatian legislation is in violation of the public service and customer protection obligations set out in Directive 2009/73/EC. Croatia now has two months to reply and address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.
The European Commission also decided to open an infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to Romania (INFR(2023)2032) for restricting the export of electricity through a measure that is incompatible with Articles 35 and 36 TFEU, Directive (EU) 2019/944 and Regulation (EU) 2019/943 on the internal market for electricity. The Commission considers that this measure has an equivalent effect to a quantitative restriction on exports within the meaning of Article 35 TFEU and cannot be justified under Article 36 TFEU. For the same reasons, the measure is also considered to violate the abovementioned Electricity Directive and the Electricity Regulation. Romania now has two months to reply and address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.

Radiation protection: Commission calls on IRELAND, FRANCE and CYPRUS to correctly transpose the Euratom Basic Safety Standards Directive
The European Commission decided to open three infringement procedures by sending letters of formal notice to Ireland (INFR(2023)2035), France (INFR(2023)2034) and Cyprus (INFR(2023)2033) for failing to correctly transpose the revised Basic Safety Standards Directive (Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom). The Directive, which modernises and consolidates EU radiation protection legislation, lays down basic safety standards to protect members of the public, workers and patients against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation. It also includes emergency preparedness and response provisions that were strengthened following the Fukushima nuclear accident. In those three Member States, the transposition was found to be non-conforming in certain areas covered by the Directive. The conformity issues identified by the Commission are different for each Member State and concerns specific requirements of the Directive, including in relation to non-medical and medical exposures and emergency preparedness and response; to building materials that are of concern from a radiation protection point of view; the management of orphan sources and the powers assigned to their competent authorities; and concerning the provision of information to workers and occupational exposures. These Member States now have two months to reply and address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send them a reasoned opinion.

Reasoned opinions

Renewable energy: Commission urges ESTONIA and FINLAND to fully transpose the Renewable Energy Directive
Today, the European Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to Estonia (INFR(2021)0200) and Finland (INFR(2021)0230) for not having fully transposed EU rules on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources set out in Directive (EU) 2018/2001. This Directive provides the legal framework for the development of renewable energy in electricity, heating and cooling, and transport in the EU. It sets an EU-level binding target for 2030 of at least 32% renewable energy and includes measures to ensure support for renewable energy to be cost-effective, and to simplify administrative procedures for renewable energy projects. It also facilitates the participation of citizens in the energy transition and sets specific targets to increase the share of renewables in the heating and cooling and transport sectors by 2030. The deadline to transpose the Directive into national law was 30 June 2021. In July 2021, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to both Member States. To date, Estonia and Finland have only partially transposed the Directive. They now have two months to comply with the transposition obligation and notify the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Energy performance of buildings: Commission urges POLAND to fully transpose the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Poland (INFR(2020)0228) for failing to ensure full transposition into national law of Directive (EU) 2018/844 which amended Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings. The Directive introduced new elements to strengthen the existing framework, such as minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings, electromobility and recharging points, and new rules on the inspection of heating and air-conditioning systems. The deadline to transpose the Directive into national law expired in March 2020. In February 2022, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Poland after concluding that not all the provisions of the Directive had been transposed into national law. Having examined the reply from Poland as well as the national transposition measures notified, the Commission considers that Poland has still not fully transposed the Directive. Poland now has two months to comply with the transposition obligation and notify the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Internal energy market: Commission urges BULGARIA, LUXEMBOURG, THE NETHERLANDS, AUSTRIA and FINLAND to fully transpose EU rules on the internal electricity market
Today, the European Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to Luxembourg (INFR(2021)0067), the Netherlands (INFR(2021)0079), Austria (INFR(2021)0005) and Finland (INFR(2021)0045) for not having fully transposed EU rules for the internal electricity market set out in Directive (EU) 2019/944, amending Directive 2012/27/EU.
It also decided to send a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria (INFR(2021)0015) for not having indicated in a sufficiently clear and precise manner all the provisions in national legislation by which it considered that each provision of the Directive was transposed. This Directive lays down key rules regarding the organisation and functioning of the EU electricity sector to create truly integrated, competitive, consumer-centred, flexible, fair and transparent electricity markets across the Union. The deadline to transpose the Directive into national law was 31 December 2020.
In February 2021, letters of formal notice were sent to Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria and Finland, after the Commission concluded that not all the provisions of the Directive had been transposed into their national laws. Having examined the replies from the Member States concerned as well as the national transposition measures notified, the Commission considers that these Member States have still not fully transposed the Directive. Regarding Bulgaria, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice in February 2021 considering that it had not notified transposition measures in a sufficiently clear and precise manner. These Member States now have two months to comply with the transposition obligations and notify the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

6. Taxation and Customs Union

Reasoned opinion

Taxation: Commission calls on SPAIN to transpose new EU excise duty rules relating to small and artisan alcohol producers
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Spain (INFR(2022)0075) for failing to notify transposition measures of new EU rules on the harmonisation of the structures of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages (Directive 2020/1151). The Directive sets up an EU-wide certification system for small and artisan alcohol producers which facilitates their access to low excise duty rates across the Union. Member States were required to transpose this Directive by 31 December 2021. In January 2022, the Commission sent letters of formal notice to 11 Member States, including Spain, after they failed to fully transpose the Directive. To date, Spain has not notified any transposition measures to the Commission. Spain now has two months to comply with the transposition obligation and notify the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Referral to the Court of Justice

The European Commission decides to refer BELGIUM to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to correctly transpose the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive
Today, the European Commission decided to refer Belgium (INFR(2020)2215) to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to correctly transpose the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/1164). The Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive allows a Member State where a parent company of a multinational is located to tax profits made by a ‘controlled foreign company’ in another Member State. This is allowed when the tax paid by the controlled foreign company is less than half of what would be paid in the Member State of the parent company (the CFC rule). The company should be granted a tax credit for all taxes that it has paid abroad. However, contrary to the Directive, Belgian law does not allow a taxpayer to deduct from its tax liability the tax already paid by a controlled foreign company in the state of tax residence. In 2020, the European Commission sent a letter of formal notice to the Belgian authorities, followed by a reasoned opinion in 2021, requesting them to amend their legislation within two months. As Belgium’s reply to the Commission’s reasoned opinion was not satisfactory, the Commission has now decided to refer Belgium to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The full press release is available online.

7. Mobility and Transport

Reasoned opinions

Road Safety: European Commission calls on BULGARIA, IRELAND, LUXEMBOURG and AUSTRIA to comply with EU rules on roadside inspections
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria (INFR(2022)0413), Ireland (INFR(2022)0425), Luxembourg (INFR(2022)0428) and Austria (INFR(2022)0398) for failing to notify the Commission of national measures transposing Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2021/1716). This Directive updates technical requirements for roadside inspections, notably the categories of high speed tractors subject to roadside inspections. The Directive aims to improve road safety by ensuring the roadworthiness of heavy commercial vehicles used on public roads. The deadline to transpose the Directive into national law was 27 September 2022. In November 2022, the Commission sent letters of formal notice to all four Member States. Having analysed their replies and as they have still not notified the national measures transposing the Directive, the Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria, Ireland, Luxembourg and Austria. The Member States now have two months to respond and take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Road Safety: European Commission urges LUXEMBOURG and PORTUGAL to update requirements for periodic roadworthiness tests
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Luxembourg (INFR(2022)0429) and Portugal (INFR(2022)0434) for failing to notify the Commission of national measures transposing Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2021/1717. This Directive amends the practicalities of periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers, notably by updating certain vehicle category designations (high-speed tractors, powered two- and three-wheelers and quadricycles). It also adds eCall, a system to send automated messages to the emergency services following a crash, to the list of items which should be subject to periodic roadworthiness tests. The deadline to transpose the Directive into national law was 27 September 2022. In November 2022, the Commission sent letters of formal notice to both Member States. Having analysed their replies and as they have still not notified the national measures transposing the Directive, the Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion to Luxembourg and Portugal. The Member States now have two months to respond and take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Rail transport: European Commission calls on BULGARIA to correctly transpose EU rules on market opening and infrastructure governance
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria (INFR(2021)2161) for its incorrect transposition of Directive (EU) 2016/2370. This Directive amends Directive 2012/34/EU on establishing a Single European Rail Area with a view to opening the market for domestic passenger transport services by rail and the governance of the railway infrastructure. It allows railway companies to run all types of rail services anywhere in the EU, as well as strengthening rules on the independence and impartiality of the infrastructure managers. In November 2021, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Bulgaria, in relation to the independence and impartiality of the infrastructure manager, as well as to the additional functions of the regulatory body. Since Bulgarian legislation is still not fully compliant with the EU law requirements, the Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion. Bulgaria now has two months to notify the Commission of the measures taken to ensure the correct transposition of the Directive. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Rail transport: Commission urges CZECHIA to correctly transpose EU rules on national rail safety responsibilities
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Czechia (INFR(2020)0513) requesting that it completes transposition of  the rail safety rules of Directive (EU) 2016/798). This Directive is part of the Fourth Railway Package, a set of six European laws that aim to complete the single market for rail services (Single European Railway Area), revitalise the rail sector and make it more competitive towards other modes of transport. The Directive aims to make it easier for companies to run railway services across Europe. It has notably created faster and cheaper ways to certify the safety management systems of railway companies operating in several Member States. The Directive also removed unnecessary national safety and operational barriers to facilitate cross-border rail traffic. Member States had until 30 October 2020 to transpose the new rules in national law. In November 2020, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Czechia. Since the Commission was not yet notified of a full transposition of the Directive into Czech laws, it has decided to issue a reasoned opinion. Czechia now has two months to respond and take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Maritime transport: Commission urges BULGARIA to communicate measures implementing rules on port reception facilities
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria (INFR(2021)0162) for failing to communicate national measures transposing Directive (EU) 2019/883 on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships, amending Directive 2010/65/EC and repealing Directive 2000/59/EC. These rules ensure that adequate infrastructure is available at ports for the collection of waste from ships. Member States had until 28 June 2021 to transpose the new rules in national law. In November 2020, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Bulgaria. Since the Commission was not yet notified of a full transposition of the Directive into national law, it has decided to issue a reasoned opinion. Bulgaria now has two months to reply and take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Referrals to the Court of Justice

The European Commission decides to refer BULGARIA to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to transpose rules on clean vehicle targets
Today, the European Commission decided to refer Bulgaria (INFR(2021)0378) to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to transpose EU rules setting minimum national targets for the public procurement of clean vehicles (Directive (EU) 2019/1161). The Clean Vehicles Directive sets national targets for the public procurement of clean vehicles. It concerns in particular urban buses, where public procurement represents around 70% of the market. The deadline for transposition of the Directive was August 2021. The Commission addressed a letter of formal notice to Bulgaria in September 2021 and sent a reasoned opinion in April 2022. Since Bulgaria remains in breach of the Directive, the Commission has now decided to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The full press release is available online.

The European Commission decides to refer BULGARIA and POLAND to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to transpose rules on electronic tolling into national law
Today, the European Commission decided to refer Bulgaria (INFR(2021)0517) and Poland (INFR(2021)0537) to the Court of Justice of the European Union for the lack of transposition of the European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) (Directive (EU) 2019/520). The EETS is a tolling system, for which EU road-users could pay tolls with a single subscription contract, through a single provider and a single on-board unit that would cover all Member States, once fully implemented. Failure to transpose the rules on electronic tolling is an obstacle to interoperability between Member States’ electronic road toll systems, and to cross-border enforcement of the obligation to pay road fees in the EU. The transposition deadline for this Directive elapsed on 19 October 2021. The Commission started the infringement proceedings against these Member States in November 2021 and decided to send reasoned opinions in May 2022. Since these Member States remain in breach of their obligation to transpose the Directive, the Commission has decided to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The full press release is available online.

The European Commission decides to refer DENMARK to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to comply with EU rules on provision of coach and bus cabotage services
Today, the Commission decided to refer Denmark (INFR(2021)2072) to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to comply with its obligations under Regulation (EC) No 1073/2009. The Regulation provides a definition of cabotage according to which EU carriers are free to provide occasional road passenger transport services on a temporary basis in Member States other than the one of establishment, under the sole requirement that they hold an EU-wide licence. The Commission considers that the Danish interpretation of this provision, strictly limiting these cabotage operations to seven consecutive days per month, does not allow for a wide number of transport operations to be carried out on the territory of Denmark, despite their clear temporary nature. This referral to the Court is the next step in the infringement procedure launched by the Commission in June 2021 against Denmark with a letter of formal notice. As the Danish authorities did not respond adequately to the concerns of the Commission on the interpretation of the notion of temporary basis, and did not include any commitment to remedy the incompatibility, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion in May 2022, followed by today’s referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The full press release is available online.

The European Commission decides to refer THE NETHERLANDS and PORTUGAL to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to transpose rules on the posting of drivers in the road transport sector
Today, the Commission decided to refer the Netherlands (INFR(2022)0243) and Portugal (INFR(2022)0251) to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to transpose rules on the posting of drivers in the road transport sector into their national legislation. Directive (EU) 2020/1057 introduces specific rules for the posting of drivers in the road transport sector and the administrative requirements and control measures regarding the posting of these drivers. It also amends Directive 2006/22/EC as regards enforcement requirements. The Directive is essential to ensure social protection for drivers and to improve their working conditions. The deadline for the EU Member States to transpose the Directive (EU) 2020/1057 into their national legislation was 2 February 2022. For those Member States that failed to notify the Commission of their transposition by that date, the Commission opened infringement proceedings in March 2022 and sent reasoned opinions in September 2022. Since the Netherlands and Portugal remain in breach of the Directive, the Commission has now decided to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The full press release is available online.

8. Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

Letters of formal notice

Anti-Money Laundering: Commission calls on ITALY, LATVIA, and PORTUGAL to correctly transpose the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive
The European Commission decided to open an infringement procedure by sending letters of formal notice to Italy (INFR(2023)2029), Latvia (INFR(2023)2028), and Portugal (INFR(2023)2030) on the grounds of their incorrect transposition of the 5th Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive (Directive (EU) 2018/843). These Member States have notified a complete transposition of the Directive. Nevertheless, the Commission has identified several instances of incorrect transposition (non-conformity) of the Directive into national law, which affect, among others, fundamental aspects like: the obligation to register, license or regulate services providers (Italy and Latvia), the obligation to establish a payment and bank accounts register (Latvia) and guaranteeing the Financial Intelligence Unit proper access to Anti-money laundering information (Portugal). Anti-money laundering rules are instrumental in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. Legislative gaps occurring in one Member State have an impact on the EU as a whole. That is why EU rules should be implemented and supervised efficiently to combat crime and protect our financial system. Italy, Latvia and Portugal have two months to reply and take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer these cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Reasoned opinions

Commission urges SPAIN to transpose the Sustainability Factors Directive into national law
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Spain (INFR(2022)0356) for failing to notify measures for the transposition into national law of the Sustainability Factors Directive (Directive (EU) 2021/1269). Spain has failed to transpose the Directive by the deadline of 21 August 2022. The Directive is part of the ‘Financing Sustainable Growth’ Action Plan by the Commission. One of the plan’s objectives is to reorient capital flows towards sustainable investments to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth. The Directive clarifies the need for sustainability factors and sustainability related objectives to be taken into account in the product governance and oversight process of investment firms manufacturing financial instruments and their distributors. Spain has now two months to reply and take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

9. Jobs and social rights

Reasoned opinions

Working conditions: The Commission calls on ITALY to prevent abusive use of fixed-term contracts and avoid discriminatory employment conditions in the public sector
Today, the Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Italy (INFR(2014)4231), for failing to correctly transpose into national law Council Directive 1999/70/EC, which prohibits discrimination against fixed-term workers and obliges Member States to have measures in place to prevent and penalise the abusive use of fixed-term employment contracts or relationships. Italian law does not sufficiently prevent and penalise the abusive use of successive fixed-term contracts for several categories of public sector workers in Italy. This includes teachers as well as administrative, technical and auxiliary staff in public schools, healthcare workers, workers in the higher arts, music and dance education sector, opera staff, personnel in public research institutions, forestry workers, and voluntary staff of the national fire brigade. Some of these workers also have less favourable working conditions compared to permanent workers, which constitutes discrimination and is contrary to EU law. The Commission launched the infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to the Italian authorities in July 2019, followed by an additional letter of formal notice in December 2020. While Italy provided explanations for its national rules, the Commission considers that these were not satisfactory and is now following up with a reasoned opinion. Italy has two months now to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Labour mobility: Commission calls on BELGIUM to grant EU jobseekers the right to reside in the country for a reasonable period of time to look for a job
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Belgium (INFR(2022)4023) because it considers that Belgium’s rules for EU jobseekers are contrary to EU law. EU citizens have the right to reside in another Member State for three months, with the only requirement to hold a valid identity document. After three months, EU countries should allow EU jobseekers, who look for a job in that Member State for the first time, to stay for a reasonable period of time after they have registered with the employment services. The Court has considered that 6 months from the registration as a jobseekers in the host Member State is a reasonable period. This should allow them to find a job offer corresponding to their qualifications and to take the necessary steps to start the job. After that period, host Member States can require that jobseekers prove their genuine chances of finding a job if they want to stay longer. Belgian law, however, requires EU jobseekers to deliver this proof already after the first three months of residence. In December 2020, the Court of Justice clarified the EU rules on this matter (Case C-710/19) and considered that the Belgian legislation and practice was contrary to Article 45 TFEU and Article 14(4)(b) of Directive 2004/38/EC. Following the letter of formal notice sent in July 2022, Belgium did not take any action to ensure that its national rules are in line with EU law. Belgium has two months now to take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

10. Public health

Reasoned opinions

Food safety: Commission urges ROMANIA to correctly apply EU rules on the hygiene of foodstuffs
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Romania (INFR (2020)4041) for failing to comply with EU rules on the general principles and requirements of food law (Regulation (EC) No 178/2002), on the hygiene and foodstuffs (Regulation (EC) No 852/2004), with the specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin (Regulation (EC) No 853/2004) and with a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical regulations (Directive 2015/1535). The Romanian authorities established national rules derogating from the food hygiene requirements applicable across the European Union which aim at ensuring food safety for the benefit and protection of European consumers. Furthermore, the national rules adopted by Romania fail to comply with certain definitions, which are laid down in EU law, such as retail trade, primary product, and primary production of foodstuffs. The infringement concerns game meat, wild caught fish, and quail eggs. It also concerns the retail trade in non-primary products of animal origins. The Commission also considers that Romania breached the notification obligations under Directive 2015/1535 by failing to notify the national rules to the Commission before adopting them. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Romania in July 2020. Since Romania still has not complied with it, the Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion. Romania has now two months to take the necessary measures to comply with the reasoned opinion. Otherwise, the Commission may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Referrals to the Court of Justice

The European Commission decides to refer BULGARIA to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to correctly apply EU rules on the marketing of natural mineral water and spring water
Today, the European Commission decided to refer Bulgaria (INFR(2020)4042) to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fulfil its obligations under Directive 2009/54/EC on the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters. The European Commission is indeed taking legal steps to guarantee consumers’ right to information, protect them from being misled and to ensure fair-trading. The Commission considers that the Bulgarian legislation does not comply with the rules, in particular since the Bulgarian legislation does not prohibit the marketing of natural mineral and spring waters, which originate from one and the same spring, under more than one trade description, as required by the Directive. After the Commission sent a letter of formal notice in July 2020 and a reasoned opinion in September 2021, the Commission concluded that the identified breaches of Directive 2009/54/EC have not been resolved. Consequently, the Commission decided today to refer Bulgaria to the Court of Justice. The full press release is available online.

Source – EU Commission

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