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Representation in Cyprus
Press release19 May 2022Representation in Cyprus

May 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 94 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)

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Industrial emissions: Commission calls on CYPRUS to fully transpose the Medium Combustion Plants Directive

The Commission is calling on Cyprus (INFR(2021)2089) to correctly transpose the Directive on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants (Directive (EU) 2015/2193) into national legislation. The Directive aims to reduce air pollution by setting emission limit values for medium combustion plants. These plants are used for a wide variety of applications including electricity generation, domestic or residential heating and cooling, and providing heat or steam for industrial processes. They represent a significant source of emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and dust, thus contributing to air pollution. The European Green Deal, with its Zero Pollution ambition, puts emphasis on cutting air pollution, which is among the key factors negatively affecting human health. The Directive had to be fully transposed into national law by 19 December 2017. In September 2021, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Cyprus on the matter. The Commission is today sending a reasoned opinion to Cyprus, requesting that authorities adopt further legislation to fully and correctly comply with the Directive. The country 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.

 

Air quality: Commission calls on CROATIA to protect its population against air pollution

The Commission is calling on Croatia (INFR(2020)2298) to comply with the requirements of Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe. The European Green Deal, with its Zero Pollution ambition, puts emphasis on cutting air pollution, which is among the key factors affecting human health. Full implementation of the air quality standards enshrined in EU legislation is key to effectively protect human health and safeguard the natural environment. When the limit values set by EU's legislation are exceeded, Member States are required to adopt air quality plans to keep the duration of the exceedance period as short as possible. In Croatia, the limit values for particulate matter (PM10) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) continue to be exceeded in several areas while reports show the ineffectiveness of the measures taken. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice in October 2020 and Croatian authorities replied in December 2020. However, data available from air quality monitoring in Croatia shows a persistence in exceedance of PM10limit values in three air quality zones and of PM2.5 in one zone. The air quality measures presented by Croatia have so far not proven to be effective to reduce pollution within the agreed limits and contribute to keeping the exceedance periods as short as possible, as required under EU law. Therefore, the Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion. Croatia 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.

 

Nature protection: Commission calls on PORTUGAL to complete the Natura 2000 network

The Commission is calling on Portugal (INFR(2019)2148) to ensure adequate protection for habitats and species of EU interest by designating Natura 2000 sites, as required under EU nature legislation (Habitats Directive (Directive 1992/43/EEC) and the Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147/EC). Under these Directives, Member States committed to develop a coherent European Natura 2000 network. The Habitats Directive requires Member States to propose adequate sites of Community importance (SCIs) to the Commission and obliges EU countries to protect and restore to favourable conservation status habitats that play a vital role for biodiversity. The European Green Deal and the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 also both indicate that it is crucial for the EU to halt biodiversity loss. In July 2019, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Portugal over its failure to ensure adequate protection for habitats and species of EU interest by designating nature protection areas. Portugal has not yet proposed all the sites it should have, including marine sites, and those proposed do not adequately cover the various habitat types and species that need protection. Therefore, the Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion. Portugal 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 SLOVENIA to designate marine special protection areas

The Commission is calling on Slovenia (INFR(2021)2068) to comply with the requirements of the Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147/EC), which requires Member States to designate special protection areas (SPA) with the aim of protecting wild birds.  The European Green Deal and the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 both indicate that it is crucial for the EU to halt biodiversity loss.  Marine protected areas, such as those designated under the Birds Directive, protect important breeding, feeding or migration areas for seabirds, playing a key role in ensuring their good status. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Slovenia in June 2021. However, Slovenian authorities have still not designated all the necessary SPAs for the Mediterranean shag, in order to provide protection of that bird type, and the country is therefore failing to fulfil its obligations under the Birds Directive. Therefore, the Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion. Slovenia 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 Impact Assessment: Commission calls on SPAIN to remedy the harmful effects of a hotel complex on the environment

The Commission is calling on Spain (INFR(2017)2113) to offset the damage to the environment and, in particular, to a Natura 2000 site of major importance for the conservation of rare bird species, caused by the construction of a hotel complex in La Oliva (Fuerteventura, Canary Islands). The competent authorities approved the project in 2001 without having assessed its environmental effects, as required under the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (Directive 2011/92/EU) and the Habitats Directive (Directive 1992/43/EEC). Although Spanish courts declared the project null and void on those grounds in 2011, the authorities decided to go ahead with the construction works, causing irreparable damage to the habitats of critically endangered birds. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Spain in 2017. However, the Spanish authorities have not fulfilled any of their commitments to remedy the environmental effects of the complex. Therefore, the Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion. Spain 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 liability: Commission calls on THE NETHERLANDS to clarify national legislation on access to justice for environmental damage

The Commission is calling on the Netherlands (INFR(2020)2113) to make sure their national legislation clearly allows that those ‘directly affected' and those ‘likely to be affected' by environmental damage have the right to request the authorities to take action as required by the Environmental Liability Directive. The Directive envisages that environmental damage can be prevented or remedied by, among others, granting the right to natural and legal persons to request that the competent authority decides about (preventive and) remedial action to be taken by the liable operator. The Directive also ensures that the financial consequences of the remedial action are borne by the economic operator who caused the environmental damage. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice in July 2020. The Netherlands indicated that, legally speaking, all categories of persons mentioned in the Directive are covered. Nevertheless, the right of persons ‘likely to be affected' by environmental damage to request action is not sufficiently clear from the Dutch legislation as such, since they require interpretation. It is important – for the protection of the environment – to remove any type of uncertainty over which persons have the right to request action by the authorities. Therefore, the Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion. The Netherlands 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.

 

Fisheries and maritime affairs

 

Letters of formal notice

 

Maritime spatial planning: Commission calls on BULGARIA and SPAIN to establish their Maritime Spatial Plans

The Commission is calling on Bulgaria (INFR(2022)2025) and Spain (INFR(2022)2027) to ensure correct implementation of Directive (EU) 2014/89 on Maritime Spatial Planning. Maritime spatial planning seeks to organise human activities in marine areas so as to meet various ecological, economic and social objectives. Amongst these are the development of a sustainable blue economy, the sustainable use of marine resources, and the conservation of healthy marine ecosystems and biodiversity, which are an essential part of the European Green Deal. The Directive required coastal 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. Bulgaria and Spain did not comply with this requirement. The Commission is therefore sending letters of formal notice to Bulgaria and Spain, which now have 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.

 

2. Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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

 

Reasoned opinion

 

Late payments: Commission calls on GREECE to ensure that businesses are paid on time

Today, the Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion to Greece (INFR(2010)4206) for not applying correctly the rules under the Late Payment Directive (Directive 2011/7/EU). Late payments have negative effect on businesses, as they reduce their liquidity, prevent them from growing, hamper their resilience, in particular in the current economic context, and their capacity to become more green and digital. The Late Payment Directive obliges public authorities to pay their invoices within 30 days (or 60 days for public hospitals) and public authorities should set the good example in the fight against bad payment culture in the business environment. Between 2010 and 2020, Greece introduced a 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. According to the Commission, this legislation constitutes a breach of EU rules, as interpreted by the Court, notably in its judgment delivered in case C-555/14. Greece now has two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission. Otherwise the Commission may decide to refer Greece to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

 

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; Yuliya Matsyk - Tel.: + 32 229 13173)

 

Letters of formal notice

 

Legal migration: Commission calls on BULGARIA to use new format for residence permit cards for non-EU nationals

The Commission is sending today the additional letter of formal notice to Bulgaria (INFR(2021)2127) for failing to implement the new card format for residence permits for non-EU nationals (Regulation (EC) 1030/2002). The Regulation was amended in 2017 to introduce a new card format for residence permits with upgraded security features that rely on biometric data. Bulgaria is currently not issuing the new residence permits, which had to be in place by 10 July 2020. The Commission has sent a letter of formal notice in October 2021 and additional clarifications are now required. Bulgaria has two months to comply. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.  

 

Fight against cybercrime: Commission calls on HUNGARY, LATVIA and MALTA to comply with the EU Cybercrime Directive

The European Commission decided today to open infringement procedures by sending letters of formal notice to Hungary (INFR(2022)2009), Latvia (INFR(2022)2008) and Malta (INFR(2022)2010) for the incorrect implementation of certain provisions of the Directive on Attacks against Information Systems (Directive 2013/40/EU). The Directive is an essential part of the EU's legal framework in the fight against cybercrime and requires Member States to strengthen national cybercrime laws and introduce tougher criminal sanctions, including for large-scale cyber-attacks. Member States are also obliged to designate points of contact, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to ensure improved cooperation between national authorities. The Commission considers that Hungary, Latvia and Malta have incorrectly transposed the measures set out in the Directive into their national laws, in particular when it comes to the provisions regarding certain offences, required penalty levels, and jurisdiction. Hungary, Latvia and Malta now have two months to respond to the arguments raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.  

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Non-cash payments: Commission urges BELGIUM, BULGARIA and CZECHIA to comply with EU rules on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment

Today, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion to Belgium (INFR(2021)0147), Bulgaria (INFR(2021)0158) and Czechia (INFR(2021)0183) requesting them 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 Belgium, Bulgaria and Czechia did not respect the initial transposition deadline, the Commission sent all three Member States a letter of formal notice in July 2021. They provided their replies in September 2021. However, given that Belgium, Bulgaria and Czechia have either partially notified or not notified transposition measures in a clear and precise manner, the Commission decided to send them reasoned opinions. The three countries have two months to reply and take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer them 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

 

Fight against fraud: Commission urges ESTONIA, HUNGARY, MALTA and THE NETHERLANDS to transpose EU rules to fight fraud against the Union's budget

Today, the Commission has decided to send a letter of formal notice to Estonia (INFR(2022)2011), Hungary (INFR(2022)2012), Malta (INFR(2022)2014) and The Netherlands (INFR(2022)2015) because they did not correctly transpose the EU rules on the fight against fraud on the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law (Directive (EU) 2017/1371). These rules, which are part of the Commission's broader anti-fraud strategy, protect the EU's budget by harmonising the definitions, sanctions, jurisdiction rules and limitation periods related to fraud and other offences affecting the EU's financial interests. The issues identified mainly relate to the transposition of the Directive's provisions on the definition of criminal offences (fraud, corruption and misappropriation), sanctions and limitation periods. A proper transposition of these rules by Member States is necessary to enable the European Public Prosecutor's Office to conduct effective investigations and prosecutions. The deadline to transpose the Directive into national law expired on 6 July 2019. Today's decision follows other letters of formal notice sent to Croatia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Luxemburg, Portugal, Romania and Spain in December 2021; and Belgium, Cyprus, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden in February 2022 for non-conformity with the Directive. In addition, the Commission has also decided to close the infringement case opened against Austria in September 2019 for having failed to properly communicate the transposition measures for this Directive. These four Member States now have two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.


Data Protection: Commission calls on GERMANY to correctly transpose the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive

Today, the European Commission has decided to send a letter of formal notice to Germany (INFR(2022)2030) for failing to fulfil its obligations under the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/680). Germany has failed to correctly transpose the provision stipulating that the data protection supervisory authorities must have effective corrective powers of various types. These types include warnings, orders to bring the processing operations into compliance with the data protection rules, in particular by ordering the rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing, as well as imposing a temporary, definitive limitation or ban of processing. The data protection supervisory authorities must be able to exercise their powers against the controllers or processors. The Commission considers that the correct transposition of the provisions relating to the powers of the data protection supervisory authorities is an essential element for the effective guarantee of the fundamental right to the protection of personal data. The Commission sent letters of formal notice to several Member States in April 2022 for failing to correctly transpose this Directive within the deadline. Germany now has two months to reply to the Commission and take the necessary measures to remedy the situation. Failing a satisfactory reply, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.

 

European Arrest Warrant: Commission launches infringement procedure against LUXEMBOURG and ROMANIA for incorrect transposition

The Commission decided today to open an infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to Luxembourg (INFR(2022)2018) and Romania (INFR(2021)2263) on the grounds that some provisions of the Framework Decision on the European arrest warrant have not been transposed correctly, concerning for instance time-limits to take a decision on whether to execute a European arrest warrant or the surrender of a requested person. The European arrest warrant is a simplified cross-border judicial procedure to surrender a requested person for the purpose of prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order. Operational since 1 January 2004, the European arrest warrant has replaced the lengthy extradition procedures that used to exist between EU Member States. The Commission has sent letters of formal notice to other 24 Member States for not transposing, or for not transposing certain provisions of the Framework Decision. Luxembourg and Romania now have two months to reply to the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion. 

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Market Abuse Directive: Commission calls on SPAIN to comply with the requirements on criminal sanctions

The Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to Spain (INFR(2019)2127), urging it to comply with the requirements of the Directive on criminal sanctions for market abuse (Directive 2014/57/EU). The Directive requires Member States to introduce common definitions of criminal offences of insider dealing and market manipulation, and to impose maximum criminal penalties for the most serious market abuse offences. Member States need to ensure that such behaviour - including the manipulation of benchmarks - is a criminal offence, punishable with effective sanctions everywhere in Europe. Spain has not correctly transposed the Directive into national law, notably by not providing for a maximum term of imprisonment of at least four years for certain cases of insider dealing covered by the Directive. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Spain in April 2019. As Spain's response did not satisfactorily address these concerns, the Commission has decided today to issue a reasoned opinion. 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.

 

5. Energy and climate

(For more information: Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602; Giulia Bedini – Tel. +32 229 58661) pending validation

 

Letters of formal notice

 

Energy efficiency: Commission calls on DENMARK, FRANCE and PORTUGAL to complete the transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive

The Commission decided today to send letters of formal notice to Denmark (INFR(2022)2038), France (INFR(2022)2039) and Portugal (INFR(2022)2040) for failing 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 EU energy efficiency target for 2030 of at least 32,5%. Member States were required to transpose the Directive by 25 October 2020. Transposition is being examined in all Member States. The 22 Member States that had not declared full transposition by the deadline received a letter of formal notice in November 2020. Denmark, France and Portugal had declared full transposition and, therefore, did not receive a letter of formal notice at the time. However, after examination of the national transposition measures notified, the Commission now considers that the transposition is not complete. They now have two months to reply. Otherwise, in the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

 

Internal energy market: Commission calls on BELGIUM, CZECHIA, IRELAND, LITHUANIA POLAND and SPAIN to fully transpose EU rules on the internal electricity market

The Commission decided today to send letters of formal notice to Belgium (INFR(2022)2032), Czechia (INFR(2022)2033), Ireland (INFR(2022)2035), Lithuania (INFR(2022)2036), Poland (INFR(2022)2037) and Spain (INFR(2022)2034) for having only partially communicated national measures transposing EU rules for the internal market for electricity, as set out in Directive (EU) 2019/944amending Directive 2012/27/EU. This Directive lays down key rules relating to the organisation and functioning of the EU electricity sector with a view to creating 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. Following today's letters of formal notice, the 6 Member States now have two months to notify the Commission of their transposition measures ensuring full implementation of the EU rules. Otherwise, in the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

 

Basic safety standards: Commission calls on ITALY to comply with a Court judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union concerning the  transposition of EU radiation protection legislation

The Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice in accordance with Article 260(2) TFEU to Italy (INFR(2018)2044) for failing to comply with a judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The Court had found that Italy did not 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 January 2021, the Court rendered its judgement in Case C-744/19, declaring that Italy had failed to transpose the Directive into national law. By letter of April 2021, the Commission asked the Italian authorities to explain what measures they had taken to comply with the judgement and thus ensure the complete transposition of the Directive. The Commission assessed the Italian authorities' replies and concluded that the measures taken by Italy do not constitute full compliance with the judgment. Therefore, the Commission is sending a letter of formal notice, in accordance with Article 260(2) of the TFEU. Italy now has two months to respond to the letter and address the shortcomings raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case for a second time to the Court of Justice of the European Union and request financial penalties.

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Energy efficiency: Commission urges CROATIA, LUXEMBOURG, SLOVAKIA and SPAIN to complete the transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive

The Commission decided today to send reasoned opinions to Croatia (INFR(2020)0529), Luxembourg (INFR(2020)0539), Slovakia (INFR(2020)0564) and Spain (INFR(2020)0522) for failing 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 EU energy efficiency target for 2030 of at least 32,5%. Member States were required to transpose the Directive by 25 October 2020. The four Member States, having not declared full transposition of the revised Energy Efficiency 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 Croatia, Luxembourg, Slovakia and Spain is still 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.

 

Renewable energy: Commission urges CROATIA, CYPRUS, GERMANY, GREECE, HUNGARY, IRELAND, LUXEMBOURG, PORTUGAL and ROMANIA to transpose the Renewable Energy Directive *

The Commission decided today to send reasoned opinions to Croatia (INFR(2021)0248), Cyprus (INFR(2021)0169), Germany (INFR(2021)0192), Greece (INFR(2021)0209), Hungary (INFR(2021)0256), Ireland (INFR(2021)0260), Luxembourg (INFR(2021)0286)Portugal (INFR(2021)0326) and Romania (INFR(2021)0333)  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 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 and transport sectors by 2030. Furthermore, it strengthens criteria to ensure the sustainability of bioenergy. 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 all these Member States. To date, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Portugal and Romania have failed to provide to the Commission clear and precise information in relation to which national provisions transpose each provision of the Directive; and Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, and Luxembourg have only partially notified national measures transposing 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 HUNGARY, IRELAND, LITHUANIA and SLOVENIA to transpose the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

The Commission decided today to issue reasoned opinions to Hungary (INFR(2020)0193), Ireland (INFR(2020)0201), Lithuania (INFR(2020)0213) and Slovenia (INFR(2020)0259) 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 on 10 March 2020. In May 2020, a letter of formal notice was issued to these Member States after they failed to declare full transposition of the Directive. Having examined the national transposition measures notified, the Commission considers that Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania and Slovenia have still not fully transposed. 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.

 

Radioactive waste: Commission calls on CROATIA, ESTONIA, ITALY, PORTUGAL and SLOVENIA to adopt a national programme for radioactive waste management in line with EU rules

The Commission has decided to send reasoned opinions to Croatia (INFR(2020)2267), Estonia (INFR(2018)2028), Italy (INFR(2020)2266), Portugal (INFR(2020)2315) and Slovenia (INFR(2018)2020) for adopting national programmes for radioactive waste management which are not entirely compliant with the Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Directive (Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom). Radioactive waste is generated from the production of electricity in nuclear power plants, but also from the non-power-related use of radioactive materials for medical, research, industrial and agricultural purposes. This means that all Member States generate radioactive waste. The Directive establishes a framework requiring the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste to ensure a high level of safety and avoid imposing undue burdens on future generations. In particular, it requires Member States to draw up and implement national programmes for the management of all spent fuel and radioactive waste generated on their territory, from generation to disposal. The national programmes notified by Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia were found to be non-compliant with certain requirements of the Directive. The Member States concerned now have two months to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

 

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 tax rules on voluntary pension savings contracts (“Riester-Rente” contracts) concluded after 1 January 2010 in line with EU law

The Commission has decided today to send a letter of formal notice to Germany (INFR(2022)4014), requesting it to amend its tax legislation on voluntary pension savings contracts. These rules deny German residents employed in another EU/EEA State a pension-savings bonus and a special tax deduction for pension-savings contracts concluded after 1 January 2010. In order to benefit from these advantages, an individual currently needs to be subject to the German statutory pension scheme. In general, it is compulsory for an employee to be insured under the social security system of a single Member State, which is in principle the state of their employment. Therefore, a person who resides in Germany but works in another Member State is subject to the social security legislation of the Member State where they work, and cannot choose to contribute to the German statutory pension scheme. Such a worker can nevertheless decide to take part in a voluntary pension scheme in Germany, by concluding a pension-savings contract. However, such a worker, who is otherwise taxed on their foreign employment income in Germany, will be excluded from the above-mentioned advantages of this particular contract. The German legislation therefore seems to constitute a restriction on the free movement of workers, guaranteed in Article 45 of the TFEU and Article 28 of the EEA Agreement. If Germany does not provide a satisfactory response within the next two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion to the German authorities.

 

Referrals to the Court of Justice

 

Car taxation: Commission decides to refer MALTA to the Court of Justice of the European Union over its legislation on annual circulation tax

 The European Commission has today decided to refer Malta [INFR(2018)2362] to the Court of Justice of the European Union for taxing used cars imported from other Member States more heavily than used cars purchased on the Maltese market. In the absence of harmonisation of car taxes, each Member State can arrange its tax measures in accordance with its own assessments. However, Article 110 TFEU requires each Member State to select and arrange car taxes in such a way that they do not have the effect of promoting sales of domestic second-hand cars and so discourage the transfer of similar second-hand cars from other Member States. Currently, cars first registered in Malta since 1 January 2009 are subject to a generally higher annual circulation tax than those registered before that date, due to a difference in the way the tax is calculated, in the context of a reorganisation of the car taxation system in Malta. However, the Maltese car taxation system does not take into account the date of the first registration of the vehicle, where registration took place in another Member State, but rather the date of registration in Malta. As a result, vehicles registered in other Member States before 1 January 2009 and brought to Malta after that date are subject to a higher annual registration tax than similar vehicles already registered in Malta before that date. This discriminatory effect is not compatible with Article 110 TFEU, which prohibits discrimination against imported products. The Commission sent a reasoned opinion to the Maltese Authorities on 9 June 2021 formally requesting them to amend, within two months, this legislation. The response given by Malta to this reasoned opinion was not considered satisfactory. A press release is available online.

 

 

7. Mobility and Transport

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

 

Reasoned opinions

 

Road Transport: Commission calls on GREECE to increase the number of roadside checks

The Commission today decided to send a reasoned opinion to Greece (INFR(2018)2336) for failing to comply with Directive 2006/22/EC. The Directive requires Member States to carry out a minimum number of checks at the roadside and at the premises of road transport undertakings to verify drivers' and operators' compliance with rules on driving and resting times, and on the use of tachographs. Roadside checks should cover at least 3% of days worked by drivers. Greece has consistently failed to reach the minimum threshold of checks prescribed by Directive 2006/22/EC. Greece now has two months to respond to the arguments raised by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Road transport: Commission calls on BELGIUM, BULGARIA, HUNGARY, IRELAND, POLAND and PORTUGAL to transpose European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) legislation

The Commission today decided to send reasoned opinions to Belgium (INFR(2021)0515), Bulgaria (INFR(2021)0517), Hungary (INFR(2021)0529), Ireland (INFR(2021)0531), Poland (INFR(2021)0537) and Portugal (INFR(2021)0539), for failing to notify the Commission of national measures to transpose the European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) Directive (Directive (EU) 2019/520). The EETS is a tolling system for which EU road-users can pay with one subscription contract, one service provider and one on-board unit that covers all Member States. The Directive has two objectives: ensuring the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating the cross-border exchange of information on failure to pay road fees. The transposition deadline for this Directive elapsed on 19 October 2021 and the seven concerned Member States have not yet informed the Commission of any transposition measures. Today's reasoned opinions follow the letters of formal notice sent in November 2021 on the same matter to 19 Member States. 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.

 

Passenger road transport: Commission urges DENMARK to comply with EU cabotage rules

The Commission today decided to send a reasoned opinion to Denmark (INFR (2021)2072) regarding its interpretation of the notion of ‘temporary cabotage' for bus and coach passenger transport (Regulation (EC) No 1073/2009). Denmark defines temporary cabotage as “seven consecutive days in one calendar month”. The Danish interpretation would ensure that cabotage operations were temporary and proportionate. However, its strict, isolated and automatic application could result in a situation where cabotage operations that are temporary in nature will not be treated as such by the Danish authorities – for example, in cases where one cabotage operation is provided in the first week of a month and another one in the third week.

Denmark now has two months to respond to the arguments raised by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Fourth Railway Package: Commission calls on SWEDEN to fully transpose new rules

The Commission today decided to send a reasoned opinion to Sweden (INFR (2020)0558 and INFR(2020)0559) regarding its failure to notify the Commission of transposition measures for the rail interoperability and rail safety rules as set out in Directive (EU) 2016/797 and Directive (EU) 2016/798. The Directives are part of the technical pillar of the Fourth Railway Package, which introduced accelerated procedures, lower costs and a streamlined certification and authorisation system, in particular for rolling stock to be used in several Member States, and for railway undertakings operating beyond one Member State. It also aims at simplifying the regulatory framework by eliminating unnecessary national technical and operational obstacles to ensure smooth rail traffic across the Union. Today's reasoned opinion follows the letter of formal notice sent by the Commission in November 2020. Sweden 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.

 

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

 

Anti-Money Laundering: Commission urges PORTUGAL to complete the transposition of the 5thAnti-Money Laundering Directive

The Commission has today sent a reasoned opinion to Portugal (INFR(2020)2016) for failing to fully transpose the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5th AMLD). Even though Portugal has declared complete transposition of the Directive, the Commission considers that several provisions of the Directive have in fact not been transposed. These relate to the obligations of credit and financial institutions as regards anonymous prepaid cards issued in third countries; information to be obtained on business relationships or transactions,  involving high-risk third countries; and the accessibility of the information on the beneficial ownership of a trust or a similar legal arrangement. 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, complete and correct transposition is of outmost importance. Without a satisfactory response from Portugal within 2 months, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Motor Insurance: Commission urges GREECE to amend the transposition of the Motor Insurance Directive (Directive 2009/103/EC)

The Commission has today sent a reasoned opinion to Greece (INFR(2018)4150) for failing to correctly transpose the Motor Insurance Directive (Directive 2009/103/EC). The Directive contains rules to protect victims of accidents caused by the use of motor vehicles. The Commission has identified instances of incorrect transposition into national law. In particular, the Greek legislative transposition of the Motor Insurance Directive excludes from the compensation the injured passenger if the person happens to be also the owner of the vehicle. This is contrary to the Motor Insurance Directive. Without a satisfactory response from Greece within two months, the Commission may decide to refer the case 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 directive: Commission calls on ROMANIA and SLOVENIA to comply with EU rules open data and public sector data reuse

Today, the European Commission has sent reasoned opinions to Romania (INFR(2021)0493) and Slovenia (INFR(2021)0505) 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.

 

Copyright: Commission urges Member States to fully transpose EU copyright rules into national law

Today, the Commission has decided to send reasoned opinions to Bulgaria (INFR 2021/0159), Cyprus (INFR 2021/0172), Greece (INFR 2021/0211), Ireland (INFR 2021/0261), Latvia (INFR 2021/0295), Poland (INFR 2021/0320), Portugal (INFR 2021/0329), Slovenia (INFR 2021/0353), Slovakia (INFR 2021/0361) and Finland (INFR 2021/0231) over their failure to notify the Commission of transposition measures on copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmissions (EU Directive 2019/789). The Commission has also today sent reasoned opinions to Belgium (INFR 2021/0149), Bulgaria (INFR 2021/0160), Cyprus (INFR 2021/0173),  Denmark (INFR 2021/0196), Greece (INFR 2021/0212), France (INFR 2021/0241), Latvia (INFR 2021/0296), Poland (INFR 2021/0321), Portugal (INFR 2021/0330), Slovenia (INFR 2021/0354), Slovakia (INFR 2021/0362), Finland (INFR 2021/0232)  and Sweden (INFR 2021/0345) for failure to notify the Commission of transposition measures on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market (Directive (EU) 2019/790).These two Directives aim to modernise copyright rules for consumers and creators to make the most of the digital world. They protect rightholders from different sectors, stimulating the creation and circulation of more high-value content. They bring greater choice of content for users by lowering transaction costs and facilitating the distribution of radio and television programmes across the EU. Member States must enact these rules without further delays, this will allow EU citizens, the creative sectors, the press, researchers, educators and cultural heritage institutions as well as service providers across the EU to start benefitting from them. On 23 July 2021, the Commission opened the infringement procedure by sending letters of formal notice to the Member States that did not communicate complete transposition of the two Directives. The Commission today followed up with reasoned opinions for those Member States mentioned above. These Member States now have two months to remedy the situation and adopt national transposing measures for both directives. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice of the European Union. You will find a press release here.

 

Referrals to the Court of Justice

 

Audiovisual Media Services Directive: Commission refers five Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU

The Commission has today decided to refer Czechia (INFR 2020/0510)Ireland (INFR 2020/0531), Romania (INFR 2020/0555), Slovakia (INFR 2020/0563) and Spain (INFR 2020/0521), to the Court of Justice of the European Union over their failure to transpose the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (“AVMSD”, Directive (EU) 2018/1808), with a request to impose financial sanctions in accordance with Article 260(3) TFEU. The AVMSD governs EU-wide coordination of national legislation on all audiovisual media. The latest review of AVMSD was carried out in 2018. The revised AVMSD provides EU-wide media content standards for all audiovisual media, both traditional TV broadcasts and on-demand services, in addition to video-sharing platforms. These new EU rules aim to create a safer, fairer and more diverse audiovisual landscape. They reinforce the protection of viewers, with a particular regard to the safety of those most vulnerable, such as minors, extend rules regarding illegal and harmful content to video-sharing platforms, and foster cultural diversity in audiovisual media. Moreover, the Directive introduced additional independence requirements for national media regulators. Member States had to transpose this Directive and communicate the national transposition measures to the Commission by 19 September 2020. In the absence of adoption of the relevant national rules, the Commission sent Letters of Formal Notice to 23 Member States in November 2020, followed  by nine Reasoned Opinions in September and two in November 2021. To date, the Member States listed above have failed to fully transpose and communicate the measures implementing the AVMSD. For this reason, the Commission decided today to refer these cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union. These referrals include a request to impose financial sanctions in accordance with Article 260(3) TFEU. You can find the press release here.

 

10. Jobs and social rights

(For more information: Veerle Nuyts – Tel.: +32 229 96302; Flora Matthaes – Tel.: +32 229 83951)

 

Letter of formal notice

 

EU labour law: Commission calls on IRELAND to amend its legislation on European Works Councils

The Commission calls on Ireland (INFR(2022)4021) to comply with EU rules to ensure the effective enforcement of workers' rights under the Directive on European Works Councils (Directive 2009/38/EC). European Works Councils play an important role for the information and consultation of employees of multinational companies across borders. Member States must put in place adequate administrative or judicial procedures so that workers and company management can enforce all the rights and obligations deriving from the Directive. The Commission has identified a number of shortcomings in Irish legislation, which fails to guarantee the right of workers' representatives, the Special Negotiating Body (a body of workers' representatives) or the European Works Council to go to a national court over disputes related to breaches of the rights and obligations under this Directive. This concerns for instance disputes related to the right to request assistance and presence of an expert in negotiation meetings or disputes related to confidentiality obligations. The Commission is therefore sending a letter of formal notice to Ireland, which now has two months to respond and take the necessary measures. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.

 

Reasoned opinion

 

Protecting workers from cancer-causing chemicals: Commission proceeds with infringement case against SPAIN

Today, the Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion to Spain (INFR(2021)0410) for failing to communicate its national law transposing EU rules designed to protect workers from cancer-causing chemicals, such as carcinogens and mutagens (Directive (EU) 2019/983). This EU Directive is the third revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive. It improves protection for about 1 million workers in Europe by limiting workers' exposure to five cancer-causing chemicals. For example, under the third revision of the Directive formaldehyde has been included, which is broadly used in building and construction works, paper and paper products, wood and wood products and can lead to nasopharyngeal cancer, a type of head and neck cancer, and leukaemia. Member States were required to transpose the third update of the rules and communicate the respective national measures to the Commission by 11 July 2021. To date, Spain has still not done so, despite the Commission already having sent a letter of formal notice on 30 September 2021. Today, the Commission is therefore following up with a reasoned opinion. Spain now has two months to reply to the reasoned opinion and to take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

* UPDATED ON 19-05-2022 at 14:50

Details

Publication date
19 May 2022
Author
Representation in Cyprus