The 'Single Permit Directive' (Directive 2011/98/EU) introduces a single application procedure for the issuing of single permits for non-EU nationals to reside and work in the territory of an EU Member State, and a common set of rights for non-EU workers legally residing in a Member State. The European Commission is referring Belgium to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to transpose the Directive.
The Single Permit Directive enables non EU workers to obtain work and residence permits via a single procedure, rather than requiring separate applications for residence and work permits. It also aims at providing a clear set of rules for third country nationals working legally within the EU so that they can benefit from common rights, similar to those of EU nationals, regarding working conditions, pensions, social security and access to public services. The Directive complements other measures on legal migration such as the EU Blue Card, the Intra-Corporate Transferees and Seasonal Workers' Directives, and is designed to facilitate legal migration where it meets the needs of the EU labour market. It does not harmonise admission conditions for labour immigrants, which will remain in the hands of the Member States.
Member States were required to transpose this Directive in full by 25 December 2013. By that date, Belgium had notified the Commission that it had only partially transposed Directive 2011/98/EU. As a result, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice for non-communication to Belgium in March 2014 and, subsequently a reasoned opinion in April 2015. To date, Belgium has not notified the Commission of the full transposition of the Directive into its national law.
In referring Belgium to the Court of Justice of the EU, the Commission proposes a daily penalty of € 52,828.16.The amount of the penalty has been calculated taking into account the seriousness, the duration of the infringement and the deterrent effect reflected in the ability to pay of the Member State.
Directive 2011/98/EU provides for a Single Application Procedure for the issuing of a Single Permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of an EU Member State. The Directive also provides for a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State.
The Commission closely monitors progress made by Member States regarding the implementation of the Single Permit Directive into their national legislation. Overall, 14 Member States have received a letter of formal notice for failing to notify full transposition of the Directive by the prescribed deadline. The Commission has issued four reasoned opinions to Member States where full transposition was still not achieved (Greece, Spain, Belgium, and Slovenia). To date, infringement proceedings regarding the transposition of the Directive have been closed against 12 Member States whilst two remain open: against Slovenia, which is at the stage of a reasoned opinion, and Belgium, which is being referred to the Court of Justice of the EU today.
Under the Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force on 1 December 2009, if Member States fail to transpose EU legislation into national law within the required deadline, the Commission may ask the Court to impose financial sanctions. The daily penalty payment is calculated based on a formula, where the following elements are multiplied:
- seriousness factor;
- duration of the infringement;
- "n" factor (which varies between Member States and takes into account their GDP);
- a flat-rate amount, which currently is set at € 670 per day.
In case the transposition remains incomplete and the Court of Justice of the EU confirms the Commission's view, the daily penalty would have to be paid from the date of the judgment or a later date set by the Court until the transposition is complete. The final amount of the daily penalty will be decided by the Court, but cannot exceed the Commission's proposal.
For more information:
On the decisions of the November 2015 infringements package: MEMO/15/6006.
General information on infringements proceedings in the areas of Migration and Home Affairs.
On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12.
For more information on infringement procedures: http://ec.europa.eu/eu_law/infringements/infringements_en.htm
 Directive 2009/50/EC
 Directive 2014/66/EU
 Directive 2014/36/EU