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Brussels, 27th June 2007

Safety assessment of third-country aircraft: Commission sends reasoned opinion to Poland and takes four Member States to Court

The European Commission decided today to send a reasoned opinion to Poland and refer the cases of Greece, Ireland, Italy and Luxembourg before the European Court of Justice for not having communicated their national implementing measures to transpose the Directive on the safety of third-country aircraft using Community airports[1]. This directives gave Member States a window for implementation by 30 April 2006, after which date they were each required to inform the Commission of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions enacted at a national level in order to comply with the Directive.

In order to guarantee a high and uniform level of safety in European civil aviation, the Directive harmonises the rules and procedures for ramp inspections of third-country aircraft landing at airports located in the Member States. It foresees possible measures to be taken by a Member State against aircraft and/or their operators which may result to be unsafe following such inspections. The Directive also provides for harmonised rules on the collection, exchange, protection and dissemination of information gathered from such inspections.

By sending a reasoned opinion to Poland, the Commission has now started the second stage of the infringement procedure. If the Commission does not receive from the Member State concerned a satisfactory response within two months, it may lodge a formal complaint before the European Court of Justice, as it has decided as regards Greece, Ireland, Italy and Luxembourg.

The referral of the infringement case before the Court of Justice may lead to declare that a Member State has fail to fulfil an obligation under the EC Treaty and, if the infringements persists, to condemn the Member State to pay a lump sum or penalty payment.

[1] Directive 2004/36 EC of 21 April 2004 (OJ nº L 143, of 30.04.2004, p. 46.)

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