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European Commission - Press release

European integrated maritime policy: Commission decides to refer Bulgaria, Finland and Greece to the Court

Brussels, 7 December 2017

European integrated maritime policy: Commission decides to refer Bulgaria, Finland and Greece to the Court

The European Commission decided today to refer Bulgaria, Finland and Greece to the Court of Justice of the EU for not notifying or partially notifying its measures transposing EU rules establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning (Directive 2014/89/EU). Member States had to transpose the Directive into national law by 18 September 2016.

The Commission will call on the Court to impose a daily penalty payment of €14,089.6 per day for Bulgaria, €7,739.76 per day for Finland and €31,416 per day for Greece from the day of the judgement until this Directive is fully enacted and in force in national law. The infringement proceedings were opened against Bulgaria, Finland and Greece in November 2016 and reasoned opinions were sent in these proceedings in July 2017. Bulgaria and Greece have not notified the Commission on the adoption of the measures necessary to transpose the Directive. Finland has notified the Commission on the adoption of the measures necessary to transpose the Directive but these measures apply only to mainland Finland and not to the Province of Åland, which is also covered by the scope of the Directive.

Competition for maritime space – for renewable energy equipment, shipping, fisheries, aquaculture and other uses – has highlighted the need to manage our waters jointly and more coherently. Maritime spatial planning works across borders and sectors to ensure human activities at sea take place in an efficient, safe and sustainable way. This integrated planning and management approach has different advantages:

-    creates synergies between different activities and sectors and reduces conflicts;

-    encourages investment by creating predictability, transparency and clearer rules;

-    increases cross-border cooperation between EU countries to develop energy grids, shipping lanes, pipelines, submarine cables and other activities, but also to develop coherent networks of protected areas;

-    protects the environment through early identification of impact and opportunities for multiple use of space.

Maritime Spatial Planning directly supports and facilitates the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Among its main objectives are high levels of employment and productivity, and social cohesion and inclusion.

Next steps

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 this cannot exceed the Commission's proposal.

Background

The proposal to refer Bulgaria and Greece to Court of Justice of the EU has been made taking into account that Bulgaria and Greece have not, to date, formally notified any legislation transposing the Directive. The proposal to refer Finland to Court of Justice of the EU has been made taking into account that Finland has, to date, formally notified legislation implying only partial transposition of the Directive. By failing to adopt all the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Directive 2014/89/EU or, in any event, by failing to notify such provisions to the Commission, Bulgaria, Finland and Greece have failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 15 of this Directive.

In practice, under Article 260(3) of Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) if a Member State fails to transpose an EU Directive into national law within the required deadline, the Commission may call on the Court of Justice of the EU to impose financial sanctions. The penalties take into account:

- the seriousness;

- duration of the infringement;

- "n" factor (which varies between Member States and takes into account their Gross domestic product, GDP);

- a flat-rate amount, which currently is set at €680 per day;

- the deterrent effect reflected in the ability to pay of the Member State concerned.

For More Information

-On the key decisions in the December 2017 infringements package, see full MEMO/17/4767.

-On the general infringements procedure, see MEMO/12/12 (an info graph).

-On the EU infringements procedure.

IP/17/4774

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email


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