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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 23 January 2014

Environment: European Commission asks Court to impose financial penalties on Italy

The European Commission is referring Italy to the EU Court of Justice for its failure to include rules on animal testing into its domestic legislation. This is an issue on which there is considerable public concern, and Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes was to be enacted in national legislation by 10 November 2012. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the European Commission is asking the Court to impose penalty payments of EUR 150 787 per day.

If a Member State fails to enact EU legislation into national law within the required deadline, the Commission may ask the Court for financial sanctions to be imposed at the first referral to Court, without having to return to the Court for a second ruling.

The penalties take into account the seriousness and duration of the infringement. They consist of daily penalty payments to be paid from the date of the judgment – assuming the Member State is still not compliant – until the enactment process is completed.

The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Italy on 31 January 2013 and a reasoned opinion on 21 June 2013. Italy replied that enactment was expected by December 2013, before postponing enactment to February 2014. Italy sent the Commission further information on 13 December 2013, but the Commission is concerned that further delays cannot be excluded. A Court summons is therefore being sent.


Directive 2010/63/EU aims to eliminate disparities between Member States regarding the protection of animals used for experimental, educational and other scientific purposes. The Directive is intended to minimise the use of animals in experiments, in particular vertebrate animals and cephalopods, and requires alternatives to be used where possible, while ensuring that research in the EU remains of top quality.

For more information:

For details about EU legislation on laboratory animals in general, see:

See also:

On the January infringement package decisions, see MEMO/14/36

On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12

For current statistics on infringements in general see:

For more information on infringement procedures see:

Contacts :

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)

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