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Brussels, 7 July 2007

Non-transposition of 2 Directives in the field of immigration and asylum: Commission delivers reasoned opinions

The European Commission has further highlighted the importance of immigration and asylum issues by delivering reasoned opinions to Member States not complying with two Directives adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 29 April 2004.

Vice-President Franco Frattini recently stressed the importance of these instruments for the functioning of the whole acquis. He stated that "We must work together on a comprehensive approach to migration. Therefore the monitoring of the complete and timely implementation of these acts is a priority for the Commission." Vice-President Frattini also declared that "regardless of how many Member States have failed to communicate the measures transposing the Directives, the Commission will pursue them in its role of the guardian of the Treaty. If necessary we will bring the cases before the European Court of Justice". The deadlines for transposing the Directives into Member States' national laws expired in late summer last year.

The legal acts concerned are Directive 2004/81/EC[1] (victims of human trafficking Directive) and Directive 2004/83[2] (qualification Directive).

The aim of the victims of the human trafficking Directive is to better fight those who traffic human beings while at the same time protect the rights of victims. The Directive therefore sets clear rules where such persons who cooperate with the competent authorities of Member States may acquire residence permits.

The qualification Directive ensures that, throughout the EU, the same criteria apply for the identification of persons who are genuinely in need of international protection and that a minimum level of rights and benefits (including residence permits, access to education and employment, healthcare and social welfare, family unity and integration) are available for these persons in all Member States. Also, importantly, the Directive introduces a harmonised regime for subsidiary protection in the EU for those persons who fall outside the scope of the Refugee Convention, but who nevertheless still need international protection, such as victims of civil war.

The deadline for transposition of the victims of human trafficking Directive expired on 5 August 2006. Seven Member States have not communicated to the Commission their measures transposing the Directive and three Member States have communicated only partial measures. The United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark are not bound by the Directive.

The deadline for transposition of the qualification Directive by the Member States expired on 10 October 2006. So far twelve Member States have still not communicated to the Commission their measures transposing the Directive and four Member States have communicated only partial measures. The United Kingdom and Ireland chose to participate in the adoption and application of the Directive and, therefore, this act also applies fully to these two Member States. The Directive is not applicable to Denmark.

In accordance with Article 226 of the Treaty, the Commission opened infringement procedures against all those Member States who have not communicated, or have only partially communicated, the measures necessary to transpose the Directives. As the first step of the procedure, in October and November 2006 letters of formal notice were sent to all defaulting Member States. On 27 June 2007 the Commission decided to deliver reasoned opinions to Member States that are still failing to fulfil their obligations (8 reasoned opinions concerning the human trafficking Directive[3] and 13 reasoned opinions in respect of the qualification Directive[4]). The Member States concerned are given two months to reply. If they fail to transmit the necessary transposition measures within the provided time limits the Commission will take all the necessary procedural steps, as provided for by Article 226 of the Treaty.

For further information on the activities of Vice-President Frattini, please visit his website at:

[1] OJ 2004 L 261, p. 19.

[2] OJ 2004 L 304, p. 12.

[3] Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxemburg, Malta and Portugal.

[4] Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Finland, Sweden and United Kingdom.

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