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Brussels, 18 March 2010

Gender equality rules: European Commission sends final warnings to Austria, Belgium and Poland and closes case against Estonia

The European Commission today sent reasoned opinions – the final stage before a case is referred to the European Court of Justice – to Austria, Belgium and Poland after they failed to communicate national legislation that aims to implement EU rules against gender discrimination in employment (Directive 2006/54/EC). At the same time, the Commission closed the infringement proceeding on the same Directive against Estonia after the country notified the Commission of its legislation transposing the Directive.

In the case against Austria, the government has not communicated measures transposing the Directive in several regions (Länder).

The reasoned opinion sent to Belgium concerns only partial communication of measures. Belgium failed to communicate measures that aim to transpose the Directive in the German Community, the country's German speaking area.

Poland communicated a number of measures aimed at transposing the Directive, but since the process of transposition was not completed, the communication is also not complete.

The Commission has also closed an infringement case against Estonia for non-communication of national measures after notification occured.


Infringement procedures consist of three stages. The first step is that the Member State receives a letter of formal notice and has two months to respond. If the Commission receives no reply, or if the observations of the respective government are not satisfactory, the Commission can issue a reasoned opinion (the second stage in an infringement procedure). The Member State also has two months to reply. If the Member State still fails to fulfil its obligations, the Commission can refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

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