Brussels, 16 February 2011
Environment: Commission urges Austria and the Czech Republic to comply with rules on flood prevention
The European Commission is urging Austria and the Czech Republic to ensure EU environmental legislation is implemented at national level or face being taken to the European Court of Justice, with the possibility of fines. The cases concern legislation in the area of flood prevention. Both Member States have failed to inform the Commission of the transposition of the legislation despite earlier infringement proceedings. On the recommendation of EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission is therefore sending a second reasoned opinion. In case Austria and the Czech Republic do not comply with their legal obligation, the Commission may refer these Member States to the Court of Justice and may already ask the Court to impose financial sanctions at this stage, without having to return to the Court for a second ruling.1
The Commission is urging Austria and the Czech Republic to fully implement EU Directive 2007/60/EC on the assessment and management of flood risks.
Member States had to implement the Directive in their national law by 26 November 2009 at the latest and inform the Commission. As the Commission was not notified of the relevant measures by Austria and the Czech Republic, it issued letters of formal notice on 28 January 2010 to Austria and on 27 May 2010 to the Czech Republic. A first reasoned opinion was sent to the Czech Republic on 30 September 2010 and to Austria on 1 October 2010 (see IP/10/1264) since the implementation measures had still not been notified.
The timely transposition of EU legislation is a priority for the Commission. The new policy, whereby the Commission can ask for financial sanctions to be imposed at the first referral to Court if the deadlines are not met, was adopted in November 2010 and entered into force on 15 January 20112.
The Floods Directive aims to reduce and manage the risks that floods pose to human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity. The Directive requires Member States to carry out a preliminary assessment by 2011 to identify the river basins and associated coastal areas at risk of flooding. Flood risk maps are then to be drawn up for such zones by 2013, with flood risk management plans following two year later, by 2015. The risk maps focus on prevention, protection and preparedness.
For current statistics on infringements in general, see:
See also MEMO/11/86
Directive adopted under a legislative procedure
Communication on the Implementation of Article 260 (3) of the Treaty (OJ C 12,15.1.2011, p1)