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Representation in Cyprus
Press release6 April 2022Representation in Cyprus

April infringements package: key decisions

Overview by policy area

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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 90 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

(For more information: Adalbert Jahnz – Tel. +32 229 53156, Daniela Stoycheva – Tel.: +32 229 53664)

 

Letters of formal notice

 

Waste: Commission calls on CZECHIA to improve their treatment of waste in landfills

The Commission calls on Czechia (INFR(2022)2017) to fulfil their obligations under the Landfill Directive (Directive 1999/31/EC) and the Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC). The Landfill Directive sets standards for landfills to prevent adverse effects on human health, water, soil and air. The European Green Deal and the Zero Pollution Action Plan set a zero pollution ambition for the EU, which benefits public health, the environment and climate neutrality. In its judgement of 15 October 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that, before landfilling, waste must be treated in the most appropriate way to reduce negative impacts on the environment and human health as far as possible. Following this ruling, in 2015, the Commission launched a study to investigate the landfilling of untreated municipal waste in Member States. For Czechia, the study revealed shortcomings in all five visited landfill sites. Waste is being landfilled without appropriate treatment in Czechia as the selection of different fractions of waste and the stabilisation of organic waste is not ensured. Moreover, Czechia did not correctly transpose into its national legislation the obligation of pre-treatment before landfilling. The Commission is therefore sending a letter of formal notice to both Czechia, which now has two months to respond to the letter and address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.

 

Nature: Commission calls on LATVIA to improve its rules on species protection

The Commission calls on Latvia (INFR(2021)2260) to bring its national legislation into line with the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), especially as regards the protection of the lynx. Article 12(1) of the Habitats Directive requires Member States to establish a strict protection regime for the animal species listed, which includes the lynx species. Derogations from the strict protection system are possible, provided that precise conditions are met. Despite a 2020 report by the State Audit Office of Latvia that recommended to bring national law in line with the Habitats Directive, the Commission considers that it is still not the case. The Commission therefore decided to send a letter of formal notice. Latvia now has two months to respond and address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.

 

Additional letter of formal notice

 

Air quality: Commission calls on AUSTRIA to comply with EU legislation on industrial emissions

The Commission calls on Austria (INFR(2020)2094) to bring its national legislation on industrial emissions in line with EU rules. The Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU) establishes the main principles for permitting and control of large industrial installations based on an integrated approach and the application of best available techniques. Its objective is to ensure the prevention and control of pollution. The Zero Pollution Action Plan puts an emphasis on cutting air pollution, which is among the key factors affecting human health. Full implementation of EU legislation is key to effectively protect human health and safeguard the natural environment, thus enhancing collective resilience. The Directive gives members of the public concerned access to a judicial review procedure to challenge the legality of decisions, acts or omissions relating to the permit procedure. One of the Austrian regulations amended in reply to the Commission's letter of formal notice of May 2020 restricts the legal review of decisions taken pursuant to the Industrial Emissions Directive. The Commission is therefore sending an additional letter of formal notice. Austria has two months to comply. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.

 

Letter of formal notice Art. 260

 

Waste: Commission calls on ITALY to comply with EU rules on landfills

The Commission calls on Italy (INFR(2011)2215) to fulfil its obligations under the Landfill Directive (Directive 1999/31/EC). The Landfill Directive sets standards for landfills to prevent adverse effects on human health, water, soil and air. The European Green Deal and the Zero Pollution Action Plan set a zero pollution ambition for the EU, which benefits public health, the environment and climate neutrality. Under the Landfill Directive, Member States had to close by 16 July 2009, the landfills which did not comply with the requirements of the Directive unless they provided appropriate 'site conditioning plans' which would allow them to continue to accept waste for disposal. In its judgement of 29 March 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Italy has failed to ensure the definitive closure and rehabilitation of 44 landfills, which are not complying with the requirements of the Landfill Directive. In the meantime, the Commission has ascertained that whilst Italy has regularly closed 32 landfills, it has failed to ensure the definite closure and rehabilitation of the 12 remaining landfills. The Commission is therefore sending a letter of formal notice ex Article 260 to Italy, giving it two months to remedy the situation. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Waste: Commission calls on POLAND to comply with EU rules on landfills

The Commission is calling on Poland (INFR(2019)2013) to fulfil its obligations under the Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC). The Landfill Directive sets standards for landfills to prevent adverse effects on human health, water, soil and air. The European Green Deal and the Zero Pollution Action Plan set a zero pollution ambition for the EU, which benefits public health, the environment and climate neutrality. Member States had to close the landfills which did not comply with the requirements of the Directive by 16 July 2009, unless they provided appropriate 'site conditioning plans', which would allow them to continue to accept waste for disposal. Since the Commission sent a letter of formal notice in March 2019, Poland has failed to ensure the definitive closure and rehabilitation of five non-compliant municipal landfills. Therefore, the Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion. Poland 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.

 

Nature: Commission calls on CYPRUS to take action to protect and manage its Natura 2000 sites

The Commission is calling on Cyprus (INFR(2021)2064) to take measures to protect and manage its Natura 2000 sites, and therefore to respect the obligations under the Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC). Under this Directive, Member States must propose EU sites of Community importance (SCIs), which are then added to EU biogeographical lists. Within six years of listing, Member States must designate SCIs as special areas of conservation (SACs) and establish conservation objectives and measures to maintain or restore the species and habitats in order to reach favourable conservation status. These are key requirements to protect biodiversity across the EU. The European Green Deal and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 both aim for the EU to halt its biodiversity loss by preserving our natural sites and restoring damaged ecosystems to favourable conservation status. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Cyprus in June 2021. However, to date, of the 37 areas concerned, conservation objectives have not yet been set for three special areas of conservation. Moreover, those set for the other 34 do not fulfil the requirements of the Habitats Directive, as they are either too vague or they do not properly identify the species targeted. In addition, conservation measures have not been set for 33 SACs and those established for four SACs are too general to ensure an adequate protection of the species and habitats. Therefore, the Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion. Cyprus 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.

 

Referrals to the Court of Justice

 

Urban Waste Water: Commission decides to refer SPAIN to the Court of Justice of the European Union over its failure to comply with the Urban Waste Water Directive

The Commission decided today to refer Spain (INFR(2016)2134) to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to comply with the Urban Waste Water Directive (Council Directive 91/271/EEC). The Directive aims at protecting the environment from the adverse effects of urban waste water from domestic and certain industrial sectors. Under the Directive, towns and cities are required to put in place the necessary infrastructure in order to collect and treat their urban waste waters before they are discharged into water bodies. The European Green Deal sets a zero Pollution ambition for the EU, which benefits public health, the environment and climate neutrality, thus also enhancing Europe's resilience. EU legislation, such as the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, aims to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment, and it is essential that Member States implement it fully. The Commission's enquiries revealed a widespread failure to comply with the Directive's obligation in 133 agglomerations in Spain. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Spain in December 2016 and a reasoned opinion in February 2020 asking Spain to fully comply with the Urban Waste Water Directive. While the Commission welcomes the fact that Spain has made progress, it still needs to provide all agglomerations with collecting systems or, where justified, with individual or other appropriate systems, such as septic tanks, achieving the same level of environmental protection. Spain also needs to step up its efforts to ensure that waste waters collected are sufficiently treated to meet the relevant standards. This means there are agglomerations where infrastructure needs to be built or improved. This may require investments in building out new physical infrastructure or upgrading already existing treatment facilities. More information is in the press release.

 

Fisheries and maritime affairs

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Fisheries: Commission calls on BELGIUM to put in place effective measures for weighing and registration of catches

The Commission calls on Belgium (INFR(2021)2163) to ensure full compliance with the Fisheries Control Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009). In particular, Belgium failed to put in place control measures for weighing, transport and traceability of fisheries products and registration of catches. A verification mission undertaken by the Commission in Belgium identified a number of serious shortcomings, on the basis of which the Commission issued a letter of formal notice on 30 October 2020. However, the Commission considers that Belgium has still not adequately addressed all identified deficiencies and does not ensure a proper control of the activities of the Belgian fishing fleet, which may lead to overfishing and non-compliances with quotas. Sustainable fishing is one of the objectives of the European Green Deal. Because of those remaining shortcomings, the Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion. Belgium 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.

 

2. Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

(For more information: Sonya Gospodinova – Tel.: +32 229 66953; Federica Miccoli – Tel.: +32 229 58300)

 

Letters of formal notice

 

Recognition of professional qualifications: Commission asks MALTA to comply with EU rules on the profession of lawyers

Today, the Commission has decided to open an infringement procedure against Malta (INFR(2022)4011) concerning EU rules ensuring the free movement within the EU of lawyers. The Commission is urging Malta to comply with its obligations under two Directives, the Lawyer's Directive (Directive 98/5) and the EU Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (Directive 2005/36). While the Lawyer's Directive allows lawyers to practice their profession on a permanent basis in a Member State other than the one in which they obtained their qualification, the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications establishes a general system for the recognition of professional qualifications across the EU. The Commission considers that Maltese laws on the recognition of professional titles and professional qualifications for lawyers - with the systematic imposition of the Maltese bar exam - do not comply with the two directives. In addition, the Commission is also addressing Malta's lack of automatic recognition of the professional title of lawyer issued in another Member State when the EU lawyer wants to establish as a legal procurator. Malta now has two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission, otherwise the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

 

Services: Commission asks PORTUGAL to ensure equal treatment regarding beach concessions

Today, the Commission has decided to open an infringement procedure against Portugal (INFR(2022)2020) for not having correctly implemented rules regarding tendering procedures for the award of beach concessions. The Commission is requesting Portugal to comply with the provisions of the Services Directive (Directive 2006/123/EC) and the freedom of establishment enshrined in Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The Commission considers that the Portuguese legislation giving holders of existing ‘beach concessions' a right of preference in tender procedures for the renewal of these concessions does not appear compatible with the Services Directive or with the freedom of establishment under the Treaty. According to the Commission, a preferential right in favour of incumbents would discourage undertakings located in other Member States from providing beach services in Portugal. Portugal has now two months to reply to the arguments put forward by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send Portugal a reasoned opinion.

 

Additional letters of formal notice

 

Public procurement: Commission urges HUNGARY and ITALY to comply with the Public Procurement Directives

Today, the Commission has decided to further pursue ongoing infringement procedures against Hungary (INFR(2018)2310) and Italy (INFR(2018)2273) to ensure the correct transposition of the Directives on public procurement and concessions (Directives 2014/24/EU2014/25/EU and 2014/23/EU). EU public procurement legislation requires public contracts above a certain threshold to be put out to tender respecting the principles of transparency, equal treatment, free competition and non-discrimination. In ensuring that Member States correctly transpose these directives into their national legislations, the Commission acts to protect fair competition and promote better value for tax payers' money. According to the Commission, Hungarian law allows for more extensive application of exceptions as regards security reasons and for contracts subsidised via tax benefits. These exceptions lead to a broader exclusion of contracts from the obligations under the EU public procurement directives. In addition, the Commission also believes that changes in the Hungarian mining law, which provide for the possibility to award mining concessions without transparent tendering procedures, are against the principle of transparency and, hence, not in line with the obligations under the concessions directive.

As regards Italy, the Commission is calling on the Italian authorities to address some remaining and additional issues concerning the transposition of the EU public procurement rules. According to the Commission, some of the new Italian rules, such as provisions on negotiated procedures without a call for tenders, do not comply with EU public procurement legislation. While the Commission notes major progress achieved by Italy in bringing national legislation into conformity with the EU public procurement framework, the Commission calls on Italy to address remaining issues already raised in the previous letters of formal notice, such as the prohibition for subcontractors to use other subcontractors.

Therefore, the Commission is sending additional letters of formal notice to Hungary and Italy. Both Member States now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to issue reasoned opinions.

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Construction products: Commission asks HUNGARY to comply with EU rules on free movement of goods and freedom of establishment

The Commission has decided today to send a reasoned opinion to Hungary (INFR(2021)2158) regarding a prior notification scheme introduced by the Hungarian authorities which allows to block the export of building materials. The Commission considers the measure to have an equivalent effect to a quantitative restriction on exports within the internal market, in violation of Article 35 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The Commission also considers that Hungary has breached its obligations under the Single Market Transparency Directive, which requires Member States to notify the Commission about technical regulations and refrain from adopting these during a standstill period. In addition, the restriction, which also applies to exports from Hungary to third countries, appears to exceed Hungary's competences under the common commercial policy, which is an area of Union exclusive competence.

The Commission has also decided to open an infringement procedure against Hungary (INFR(2022)4009) requesting it to comply with EU law when it comes to national rules affecting the construction sector. Hungary has introduced measures fixing prices for specific raw materials for the construction industry and rules requiring economic operators to maintain certain output levels even if economically not sustainable. The Commission believes that the combined impact of these measures negatively affects access to and exercise of activities of economic operators in this sector and therefore could violate the Services Directive as well as the freedom of establishment under Article 49 TFEU. Hungary moreover failed to notify the measures in violation of the Single Market Transparency Directive. These decisions are linked to the Commission's decision also issued today on the compliance by Hungary with the Public Procurement Directives, covering the award of mining concessions without transparent tendering procedures in the construction products sector. Hungary now has two months to reply to the arguments put forward by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide, in the first case, to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union and, in the second case, to send it a reasoned opinion.

 

Referrals to the Court of Justice

 

Recognition of professional qualifications: Commission decides to refer PORTUGAL to the Court of Justice of the European Union

The Commission has decided today to refer Portugal (INFR(2018)4145) to the Court of Justice of the European Union for breaching the EU rules on freedom of movement of workers (Article 45 TFEU), freedom of establishment (Article 49 TFEU) and freedom to provide services (Article 56 TFEU) as well as the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (Directive 2005/36/EC as amended by (Directive 2013/55/EU). These EU rules have contributed to the creation of a modern system for the recognition of professional qualifications and experience across the EU. According to EU legislation, and in particular Annex VI of Directive 2005/36/EC, civil engineers whose diploma attest training starting at the latest during academic years 1987/1988 are entitled to continue carrying out architectural projects in Portugal. It was agreed that those diplomas met sufficient standards to be conferred acquired rights. Consequently, other EU and EEA Member States as well as Switzerland must automatically recognise their qualification. Portuguese legislation changes the rules for the holders of the Portuguese diplomas on the list, introducing new and restrictive conditions, which are not mentioned in Annex VI. Thus, the rights to free movement from which they have benefitted since the 1990s will be restricted. The Commission is therefore referring Portugal to the Court of Justice of the European Union, as it considers that Portugal has not remedied breaches to the EU rules in question following the reasoned opinion sent by the Commission in February 2020 and following further dialogue with the Portuguese authorities. A press release is available here.

 

3. Migration, Home Affairs and Security Union

(For more information: Anitta Hipper - Tel.: +32 229 85691; Laura Bérard – Tel.: + 32 229 55721; Ciara Bottomley – Tel.: +32 229 69971)

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Non-cash payments: Commission urges GREECE, LUXEMBOURG and SPAIN to comply with EU rules on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment

Today, the Commission has requested Greece (INFR(2021)0210), Luxembourg (INFR(2021)0287) and Spain (INFR(2021)0222) to communicate information about how EU rules on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment (Directive 2019/713) have been transposed into their national law. Member States agreed to transpose this Directive and communicate national transposition measures to the Commission by 31 May 2021. The Directive criminalises theft and misappropriation of payment credentials, as well as their further sale and distribution. It covers non-cash transactions carried out with any kind of payment instrument, including bank cards but also virtual instruments such as mobile payments. Since Greece, Luxembourg and Spain had missed the initial transposition deadline, the Commission sent all 3 Member States a letter of formal notice in July 2021. As Greece, Luxembourg and Spain have not notified transposition measures to this day, the Commission decided to send them reasoned opinions. The 3 countries have two months to reply and take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Fight against money laundering: Commission urges BELGIUM to communicate all measures necessary to implement EU rules on criminalising money laundering

Today the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Belgium (INFR(2021)0007) for failure to communicate some of the transposition measures required to enact EU rules on combating money laundering by criminal law into its national law. The rules, set in Directive (EU) 2018/1673, define criminal offences and sanctions in the area of money laundering to facilitate police and judicial cooperation between EU countries and avoid that criminals take advantage of more lenient legal systems. They criminalise money laundering when committed intentionally and with the knowledge that the assets in question came from criminal activity. Member States had until 3 December 2020 to transpose the Directive. As Belgium had not notified all the measures to transpose the Directive by the deadline, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice in February 2021. Until today, Belgium has still not notified provisions on aggravating circumstances, which makes the transposition of the Directive incomplete. Belgium now has two months to reply and take necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Psychoactive substances: Commission urges IRELAND to communicate measures necessary to define isotonitazene as a drug

Today, the Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion to Ireland (INFR(2021)0264) for failing to notify the Commission of any measures to enact Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2020/1687 into national law. This Directive adds a new psychoactive substance - isotonitazene - to the definition of 'drug' contained in EU law (Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA). The Directive is part of the EU's legal framework to combat drug trafficking and limit the supply and consumption of illegal drugs. Including new psychoactive substances in the definition of 'drug' should lead to measures to reduce their availability, protect public health and deter trafficking of these substances across the EU. Member States had until 3 June 2021 to transpose the Directive. As Ireland had not notified any measure by the deadline, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice in July 2021. Up to today, Ireland has still not notified any relevant measure to the Commission. Ireland now has 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.

 

 4. Justice

(For more information: Christian Wigand - Tel.: +32 229 62253; Katarzyna Kolanko - Tel.:+32 229 63444; Cristina Torres Castillo – Tel.: +32 229 90679)

 

Letters of formal notice

 

Data Protection: Commission calls on GERMANY, GREECE, FINLAND and SWEDEN to ensure correct transposition of EU rules on the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive

Today, the European Commission has decided to send letters of formal notice to Germany (INFR(2022)2019), Greece (INFR(2022)2021), Finland (INFR(2022)4010) and Sweden (INFR(2022)2022) for failing to fulfil their notification obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) and the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/680). Germany has not yet notified measures transposing the Directive in relation to the activities of the Federal Police. Greece has failed to correctly transpose provisions relating, among others, to the scope of application of the Law Enforcement Directive and the time limits for the storage of data. Finland and Sweden have failed to fulfil their obligations as regards the right to effective judicial remedy for data subjects in certain cases. These Member States now have two months to reply to the letter and take the necessary measures to remedy the breach of EU law identified by the Commission. Failing this, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.

 

Reasoned opinions

 

‘Golden passport' schemes: Commission proceeds with infringement case against MALTA

Today, the European Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion to Malta (INFR(2020)2301) regarding its investor citizenship scheme, also referred to as ‘golden passport' scheme. The Commission considers that the granting of EU citizenship in return for pre-determined payments or investments, without any genuine link to the Member State concerned, undermines the essence of EU citizenship and is in breach of EU law. On 20 October 2020, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Malta asking to end its investor citizenship scheme and subsequently sent an additional letter of formal notice to Malta on 9 June 2021, following the introduction of a new scheme by Malta at the end of 2020. Malta has recently suspended this new scheme for Russian and Belarusian nationals following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While this was a positive step, Malta continues to operate the scheme for all other nationals and did not express any intention to stop it. The Commission considers that such a scheme is in breach of the principle of sincere cooperation (Article 4(3) TEU) and infringes the very status of citizenship of the Union as laid down in the Treaties (Article 20 TFEU). Therefore, the Commission has decided today to send Malta a reasoned opinion. Malta now has two months to reply to the Commission's reasoned opinion. If the reply is not satisfactory, the Commission may decide to bring this matter before the Court of Justice of the European Union. A press release is available here.

 

5. Energy and climate

(For more information: Stefan de Keersmaecker– Tel.:+32 460 76 46 80; Ana Crespo Parrondo – Tel.: +32 229 81325; Giulia Bedini – Tel. +32 229 58661)

 

Letters of formal notice

 

Energy security of supply: Commission calls on Bulgaria and GREECE to submit their electricity risk preparedness plans

The Commission decided today to send letters of formal notice to Bulgaria (INFR(2022)2023) and Greece (INFR(2022)2024) for failing to submit their electricity risk preparedness plans pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2019/941 on risk-preparedness in the electricity sector. This Regulation, applicable since 25 June 2019, aims at preventing, preparing for and managing electricity crises in a spirit of solidarity and transparency among Member States while respecting the requirements of a competitive internal market for electricity. To this end, the Regulation imposes a number of obligations on the Member States to notify certain information to the Commission. In this regard, both Bulgaria and Greece have failed to notify to the Commission their risk-preparedness plans. Greece has also failed to notify its assessment of risks related to the ownership of infrastructure. Both Member States now have two months to reply. Otherwise, in the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Internal energy market: Commission urges GERMANY and SWEDEN to transpose the Directive on common rules for the internal market in the electricity sector

The Commission decided today to send a reasoned opinion to Germany (INFR(2021)0028) and Sweden (INFR(2021)0096) for not having communicated national measures transposing EU rules for the internal market for electricity as set out in Directive (EU) 2019/944, amending Directive 2012/27/EU. This Directive lays down key rules relating to the organisation and functioning of the electricity sector with a view to creating truly integrated, competitive, consumer-centred, flexible, fair and transparent electricity markets in the Union.

The deadline to transpose the Directive into national law was 31 December 2020. A letter of formal notice was sent in February 2021 to Germany and Sweden and other Member States who failed to communicate any transposition measures after the deadline of transposition had passed. Until now, Germany and Sweden have still not notified any national measures transposing the Directive. Following today's reasoned opinion, the two Member States have two months to notify the Commission of their transposition measuresOtherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Renewable energy: Commission urges ESTONIA to transpose the revised Renewable Energy Directive

The Commission decided today to send a reasoned opinion to Estonia (INFR(2021)0200) for not having 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 a binding target for the EU for 2030 of at least 32% renewable energy and includes measures to ensure support for renewable energy is 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 sector and in the transport sector by 2030. Furthermore, it strengthens criteria for ensuring bioenergy sustainability.

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 date, Estonia has still not notified any national measure transposing the Directive and it 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.

 

Energy efficiency: Commission urges FINLAND, LATVIA, MALTA, POLAND and SWEDEN to transpose the amending Energy Efficiency Directive

The Commission decided today to send reasoned opinions to Finland (INFR(2020)0525), Latvia (INFR(2020)0543), Malta (INFR(2020)0545), Poland (INFR(2020)0550) and Sweden (INFR(2020)0557) for failure to ensure full transposition of the revised Energy Efficiency Directive (Directive (EU) 2018/2002), amending Directive 2012/27/EU. This Directive seeks to establish a common framework of measures to promote energy efficiency and sets a binding energy efficiency target for the EU for 2030 of at least 32,5%. Member States were required to transpose the Directive by 25 October 2020. The 5 Member States, having not declared full transposition of the revised Directive by the deadline, received a letter of formal notice in November 2020. After examination of the national transposition measures, the Commission considers that the transposition in Finland, Latvia, Malta, Poland and Sweden is not complete. They now have two months to reply. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Energy performance of buildings: Commission urges CROATIA, SPAIN and LUXEMBOURG to transpose the amending Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

The Commission decided today to send reasoned opinions to Croatia (INFR(2020)0188), Spain (INFR(2020)0175) and Luxembourg (INFR(2020)0215) for failure to ensure full transposition into national law of Directive (EU) 2018/844 amending 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 Directive conveyed a strong political signal of the EU's commitment to modernise the buildings sector in light of technological improvements and to increase the low rate of building renovation in order to improve the energy performance of the EU's building stock. The revised rules had to be transposed into national law by 10 March 2020. In May 2020 the three Member States received a letter of formal notice for failure to transpose the Directive. Having examined the national measures, the Commission considers that the transposition is not complete in Croatia, Spain and Luxembourg and is therefore sending those Member States a reasoned opinion. They now have two months to reply. Otherwise, in the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may refer these cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Referrals to the Court of Justice

 

Basic safety standards: Commission decides to refer PORTUGAL to the Court of Justice of the European Union on EU radiation protection legislation

The Commission decided today to refer Portugal (INFR(2018)2049) to the Court of Justice of the European Union due to its failure to fully 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 the general 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. Member States were required to transpose the Directive by 6 February 2018. In November 2019, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Portugal requesting it to notify to the Commission all of its transposition measures. Since then, Portugal notified additional transposition measures, but has not yet established a national action plan addressing long-term risks from exposure to radon. Therefore, the Commission is referring Portugal to the Court of Justice of the European Union. A press release is available here.

 

6. Taxation and Customs Union

(For more information: Daniel Ferrie – Tel.: +32 229 86500; Francesca Dalboni – Tel.: +32 229 88170)

 

Letters of formal notice

 

Taxation: Commission requests GERMANY to bring its rules on taxation of dividends and interest paid to charities in line with EU law

The Commission has today decided to send a letter of formal notice to Germany (INFR(2022)4000), requesting it to amend its legislation regarding taxation of dividends and interest paid to charitable organisations. Under German tax law, dividends and interest paid to charities having their legal seat or the place of management in Germany are either exempt from withholding tax, or withholding tax is refunded. However, dividends and interest paid to comparable charities established in other EU and EEA Member States and third countries are taxed at a rate of 25% unless a relevant Double Tax Agreement provides for a reduced rate. This difference in treatment of domestic and cross-border dividend and interest distributions to charities seems to constitute a restriction on the free movement of capital, guaranteed in Article 63 TFEU and Article 40 EEA. If Germany does not provide a satisfactory response within the next two months, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

 

7. Mobility and Transport

(For more information: (For more information: Adalbert Jahnz – Tel.: +32 229 53156, Anna Wartberger - Tel.: +32 229 82054)

 

Letter of formal notice

 

Aviation safety: Commission calls on SPAIN to correctly apply EU legislation

The Commission today decided to send a letter of formal notice to Spain (INFR(2022)2001) for incorrectly applying Regulation (EU) No 2018/1139 on civil aviation and the European Aviation Safety Agency and Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011 on civil aviation aircrew. Spain requires aircraft already registered in other Member States or in third countries to be re-registered in Spain before they can be permanently based there, even when they fall under the scope of Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 which requires recognition of declarations and certificates issued under its terms. Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011 specifies requirements for aircraft used by pilot training organisations. The Spanish obligation for re-registration of certain aircraft imposes an additional requirement that hinders the harmonisation needed to guarantee a high and uniform level of civil aviation safety in the Union, and it infringes on the right of operators of aircraft registered in other Member States or third countries to base such aircraft in Spain. Spain now has two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Road transport: Commission calls on BULGARIA, CYPRUS, CZECHIA, HUNGARY and SWEDEN to transpose rules on clean vehicle targets

The Commission today decided to address reasoned opinions to Bulgaria (INFR(2021)0378)Cyprus (INFR(2021)0386), Czechia INFR(2021)0393), Hungary (INFR(2021)0437)and Sweden (INFR(2021)0501) for failing to communicate their national measures to transpose EU rules on the public procurement of clean vehicles (Directive (EU) 2019/1161). The Clean Vehicles Directive sets national targets for the public procurement of clean vehicles; the targets are set as a minimum share of clean vehicles within the total number of vehicles publicly procured in a Member State during the reference periods 2021-2025 and 2026-2030. Separate targets are set for cars and vans, lorries, and buses, with a specific sub-target for zero-emission buses; the Directive gives Member States full flexibility to decide how the effort is distributed within their territory. Member States needed to transpose the Directive into national law by 2 August 2021. Those concerned now have two months to reply to the reasoned opinion, or the Commission may refer them to the Court of Justice of the EU.

 

Maritime transport: Commission calls on AUSTRIA, CYPRUS, the NETHERLANDS, POLAND and SWEDEN to transpose rules on waste from ships

The Commission today decided to address reasoned opinions to Austria (INFR (2021)0138)Cyprus (INFR(2021)0174)the Netherlands (INFR(2021)0311), Poland (INFR(2021/0322) and Sweden (INFR(2021/0347) for failing to communicate their national measures to transpose EU rules on port reception facilities for waste from ships (Directive (EU) 2019/883). The Directive on port reception facilities is designed to prevent marine pollution from ships by ensuring that waste generated on board is not thrown into the sea but collected in ports, which must offer facilities to handle various types of waste so that it can be processed properly. The provisions cover the adequacy of facilities, the types of waste to be collected, the reception and handling plans that all ports must have, and the obligation to inspect 15% of the ships calling at a Member State's ports. Member States had to transpose the Directive into national law by 28 June 2021. These Member States now have two months to reply to the reasoned opinion, or the Commission may refer them to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Aviation safety: Commission calls on DENMARK to respect the rules on foreign-registered aircraft

The Commission today decided to send a reasoned opinion to Denmark (INFR(2020)4056), requesting that it stops requiring aircraft operated for non-commercial purposes, falling under the scope of Regulation (EU) 2018/1139, and already registered in other Member States or in third countries, to re-register in Denmark before they can be permanently based there. The obligation to re-register such aircraft undermines the freedom to provide services enshrined in Article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), as well as the free movement of goods as enshrined in Article 34 of the TFEU, which are both further guaranteed by Regulation (EU) 2018/1139. Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 facilitates the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital in relation to civil aviation. To do so, it requires recognition of declarations and certificates issued under its terms. The Regulation is applicable to aircraft registered in the Union, as well as aircraft registered in a third country but which are operated by an operator established, residing, or with a principal place of business in a territory to which the Treaties apply. Denmark accepted to change its administrative practices as regards aircraft registered in other EU Member States. However, the national legal base for these practices has not yet been amended, which constitutes an ongoing infringement. Denmark is also continuing such restrictive practices with regard to aircraft registered in third countries. Denmark now has two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

8. Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

(For more information: Daniel Ferrie – Tel.: +32 229 86500, Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Financial services: Commission urges SPAIN to correctly apply SEPA Regulation for tax payments

The Commission has today decided to send a reasoned opinion to Spain (INFR(2018)4029) on the grounds that Spanish tax legislation prevents individuals from paying their taxes by direct debit, and in some cases by credit transfer, if their bank account is in another EU Member State. To date, the Spanish tax law states that a payment service provider, namely a bank, needs to be authorised by the Spanish tax authorities as a "collaborating entity". In practice, it is very difficult for foreign payment service providers to get authorised. As a result, these rules prevent the use of EU bank accounts outside Spain for both citizens and businesses to pay taxes in Spain. This is contrary to the provisions of the SEPA Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 260/2012). The SEPA Regulation establishes technical and business requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euro, underpinning the functioning of the Single Market for the processing of payment transactions in euro. Without a satisfactory response from Spain within two months, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Anti-Money Laundering: Commission urges Slovakia to amend the transposition of the 4thAnti-Money Laundering Directive

The Commission has today sent a reasoned opinion to Slovakia (INFR(2020)2227) on grounds of incorrect transposition of the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4thAMLD). Even though Slovakia had notified a complete transposition of the Directive, the Commission has identified several instances of its incorrect transposition into national law. These instances refer to fundamental aspects like the proper functioning of the Financial Intelligence Units (FIU); sanctions and administrative measures to punish money laundering crimes; or the creation of mechanisms to report breaches of law (whistle blowing). 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. Therefore, correct transposition is of outmost importance. Without a satisfactory response from Slovakia within 2 months, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Commission urges ESTONIA and GREECE to update national laws removing regulatory barriers under the Cross-border Distribution of Funds Directive

The Commission has today decided to send reasoned opinions to Estonia (INFR(2021)0401) and Greece (INFR(2021)0408) on the ground of failure to notify the national measures transposing the Cross-Border Distribution Directive (Directive 2019/1160), with regard to cross-border distribution of collective investment undertakings. The Cross-Border Distribution Directive aims at removing regulatory barriers to the distribution of the collective investment funds, which was one of the objectives of the Capital Markets Union. These rules aim at increasing transparency and creating a single access to information on national rules related to marketing requirements, regulatory fees and charges levied by national competent authorities. The Directive allows for simpler exit of the host market (de-notification), and permits management companies to choose more flexible and cheaper ways of communication and provision of administrative services to retail investors in other Member States. The deadline for the transposition of these rules into national law was 2 August 2021. Without a satisfactory response from Estonia and Greece within two months, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

9. Digital economy

(For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615, Charles Manoury - Tel.: +32 229 13391)

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Open data: Commission urges BELGIUM, BULGARIA, CZECHIA, CROATIA, HUNGARY, LATVIA, the NETHERLANDS, AUSTRIA, SLOVAKIA and SWEDEN to enact EU rules on open data and the reuse of public sector information

The European Commission has sent reasoned opinions to Belgium (INFR(2021)0370), Bulgaria (INFR(2021)0375), Czechia (INFR(2021)0390), Croatia (INFR(2021)0430), Hungary (INFR(2021)0434), Latvia (INFR(2021)0463), the Netherlands (INFR (2021)0474), Austria (INFR(2021)0363), Slovakia (INFR(2021)0512) and Sweden (INFR(2012)0499) asking to communicate information about how EU rules on open data and the reuse of public sector data (Directive EU 2019/1024, referred to as the Open Data directive) are transposed in national law. While the transposition deadline expired on 17 July 2021, the Member States listed above still failed to communicate all their national measures, despite the letters of formal notice sent on 30 September 2021. The Directive on open data and the reuse of public sector information, adopted on 20 June 2019, aims to unlock the benefits of data and helps to make more of the vast and valuable pool of data resources produced by the public sector available for reuse. This will reduce barriers to market entry for SMEs through reduced costs for data re-use, make more data available and increase business opportunities through data sharing via application programming interfaces (APIs). The Directive stimulates the development of innovative solutions such as mobility apps, increases transparency by opening the access to publicly funded research data, and supports new technologies, including artificial intelligence. Without a satisfactory response from these Member States within two months, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Referrals to the Court of Justice

 

EU Electronic Communications Code: Commission refers 10 Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU

The Commission today has referred Spain (INFR(2021)0039), Croatia (INFR (2021)0049), Latvia (INFR(2021)0069), Lithuania (INFR(2021)0060), Ireland (INFR 2021/0054), Poland (INFR(2021)0081), Portugal (INF(2021)0084), Romania (INFR (2021)0089), Slovenia (INFR(2021)0097) and Sweden (INFR(2021)0094) to the Court of Justice of the European Union over their failure to fully transpose and communicate to the Commission how national measures transpose the EU Electronic Communications Code. At work, at home or on the move, Europeans expect an internet connection that is fast and reliable. The Code modernises EU telecoms rules to the benefit of consumers and the industry by stimulating competition, driving investments, strengthening the internal market and consumer rights. Following the transposition deadline of the EU Electronic Communications Code on 21 December 2020, the Commission opened infringement procedures on 4 February 2021 followed by reasoned opinions on 23 September 2021. To date, the Member States listed above have not fulfilled their obligations under the EU Electronic Communications Code, and as a result, the Commission has referred these cases to the Court. For more information you will find a press release.

Details

Publication date
6 April 2022
Author
Representation in Cyprus