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Brussels, 27th June 2007

Safety requirements for tunnels: Commission takes Greece and Luxembourg to Court of Justice

The European Commission has decided today to initiate proceedings before the European Court of Justice against Greece and Luxembourg for failure to transpose the Directive on minimum safety requirements for tunnels and to notify the implementing measures. This Directive requires a minimum level of safety of tunnels and shall apply to all tunnels in the trans-European road network, with lengths of over 500 metres.

Directive 2004/54 on minimum safety requirements for tunnels in the trans-European road network[1] was adopted to put in practice at European level the lessons learned from tragic accidents that had occurred in Alpine tunnels a few years earlier. It had to be transposed into national law by 30 April 2006. Greece and Luxembourg were sent a reasoned opinion in December 2006. However, no appropriate national measures have been adopted by these countries in order to comply with the Directive or the reasoned opinion.

The Directive sets out minimum technical requirements such as: escape routes, emergency exits, illumination and ventilation equipments, monitoring and communication systems. Member States are required to ensure that tunnels in their territory meet these minimum safety rules. The refurbishment of tunnels shall be carried out by 30 April 2014. The Directive is also aimed at coordinating the organisation of safety procedures and at clarifying roles and responsibilities.

[1] Directive 2004/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on minimum safety requirements for tunnels in the trans-European road network (Official Journal of the European Union L 167 of 30 April 2004).

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