European Commission - Press release
Transport: Commission sends reasoned opinion to four Member States concerning their flag State obligations
Brussels, 22 March 2012 – The European Commission today sent reasoned opinions to Austria, Cyprus, Hungary and Luxembourg for their failure to communicate what measures they were taking to transpose Directive 2009/21/EC on compliance with flag State requirements. This is the normal procedure in the event of a persistent failure to communicate such measures despite having received formal notice. Sending a reasoned opinion is the last step in the procedure before possibly taking a matter to the Court of Justice.
The EU rules
The purpose of Directive 2009/21/EC is to ensure that Member States effectively and consistently discharge their obligations as flag States, particularly by applying the relevant international conventions. It requires Member States to bring into force the necessary legislative, regulatory and administrative implementing provisions before 17 June 2011. The obligations under the Directive apply without distinction to all Member States which possess or are likely to possess a fleet flying their flag. This Directive is part of the third maritime safety package, adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in 2009.
The practical consequences of non-transposition
Directive 2009/21/EC aims to enhance safety and prevent pollution from ships flying Member State flags by requiring national maritime administrations to take certain appropriate measures (especially when transferring a ship to a national register or after a ship has been detained). Member States which fail to take the necessary measures compromise the quality investigation of their fleet.
The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. If Austria, Cyprus, Hungary or Luxembourg fails to inform the Commission within two months of the measures taken to ensure full compliance with EU law, the Commission could refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.
For more information on infringement procedures, see: MEMO/12/200