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Brussels, 28 October 2010

Land transport: Commission takes Austria and Ireland to Court for failure to implement EU rules on dangerous goods

The European Commission has decided today to refer Austria and Ireland to the EU's Court of Justice over their failure to fulfil their obligations to implement Directive 2008/68/EC on the inland transport of dangerous goods in their national legislation. The directive should have been fully implemented by 30 June 2009. Failure to implement the directive can put citizens and the environment at risk and create distortions of competition between operators in different Member States.

Directive 2008/68/EC on the inland transport of dangerous goods, adopted in 2008, aims to guarantee the safe transport of dangerous goods by road, rail and inland waterways. It applies relevant international agreements in a uniform manner throughout the EU and aims to ensure harmonised and safe conditions for all land transport of dangerous goods in the EU. The international agreements in question are the ADR (road), RID (rail) and ADN (inland waterways). They include lists of dangerous goods, such as explosives, indicating whether their transport is prohibited or not and defining the requirements for their transport if it is authorised.

The practical effect of non-implementation

The rules regulating the safe transport of dangerous goods ensure, among other things, that such goods are correctly classified and packaged correspondingly and that personnel involved in transport, loading and unloading are properly trained. Non-compliance with common norms and standards when transporting dangerous goods – including such goods as explosives, radioactive material or infectious substances – can compromise safety and poses a serious acute risk for citizens and the environment. Furthermore, to establish a fully functioning internal market and level playing field for the safe transport of dangerous goods, the same rules must be applied by all Member States.

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/10/530.

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