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European Commission - Fact Sheet

February infringements package: main decisions

Brussels, 26 February 2015

In its monthly package of infringement decisions, the European Commission is pursuing several legal actions against Member States for failing to comply properly with their obligations under EU law. These decisions covering many sectors aim to ensure proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.

The Commission has today taken 276 decisions, including 44 reasoned opinions and 9 referrals to the European Union's Court of Justice. The Commission is also closing a certain number of cases where the issues with the Member States concerned have been solved without the Commission needing to pursue the procedure further.

Below is a summary of the main decisions. For more information on infringements procedure, see MEMO/12/12. For more details on all decisions please consult the infringement decisions register.

1. Referrals to the Court of Justice

 

Agriculture: European Commission refers ITALY to the Court of Justice for failure to recover milk levies due from Italian producers

The European Commission decided today to refer Italy to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to meet its responsibilities adequately with regard to managing the recovery of the levy for overproduction of milk. This levy should be paid by individual producers having exceeded their individual dairy quotas.

Italy exceeded its national quota every year from 1995 to 2009, and the Italian state paid the Commission the due superlevy amounts over the said period (2.305 billion EUR). However, despite repeated requests by the Commission, the Italian authorities have clearly not taken appropriate measures to effectively recover the levy payable from the individual producers/dairies, as requested by the relevant EU legislation. This undermines the quota regime and distorts competition with those producers who respected their quotas and those who have taken steps to pay their individual superlevy bills. As underlined by the Italian Court of Auditors, this is also unfair on Italian taxpayers.

(For more information:IP/15/4490 - Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185)

Environment: Commission takes GREECE to Court over poor waste water treatment presenting a risk to public health

The European Commission is taking Greece to Court over a failure to ensure that waste water is properly treated. Member States need adequate collection and treatment systems for urban waste water, as untreated water poses risks to human health, inland waters and the marine environment. Greece was first warned in 2010 about this particular case, which concerns areas with a population equivalent of between 2000 and 15000. Although many of the original concerns have since been addressed, the scale of the remaining problems has now led the Commission to refer the case to the EU's Court of Justice.

(For more information:IP/15/4491- Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)

Environment: Commission takes SLOVENIA back to Court for failure to issue industrial permit for a major cement factory and asks for fines

The European Commission is referring Slovenia back to Court for its failure to license industrial installations that are operating without permits. Such permits should only be issued if a number of environmental criteria are met. In 2010 the Court ruled that Slovenia was failing in its obligation to ensure that all installations operate in line with EU rules on pollution prevention and control. Four years after that judgment, a major cement factory is still operating without the necessary permit, and potentially endangering citizens' health. The Commission is asking for a daily penalty payment of EUR 9 009 until the obligations are fulfilled and a lump sum of EUR 1,604,603.

(For more information: IP/15/4492 - Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)

Growth: Commission takes GERMANY to Court to remove trade barriers for pyrotechnic goods

The European Commission has decided to refer Germany to the EU Court of Justice as national rules for pyrotechnic goods, which include fireworks, do not comply with EU law. Germany imposes additional administrative requirements on the sale of such goods, even if they have already been tested and obtained CE marking in another EU Member State. The Commission believes that such restrictions do not comply with the EU's Directive on Pyrotechnic Articles and create a barrier to trade in the internal market.

Germany requires that notification of CE‑marked pyrotechnic articles, together with their user instructions, is made to the Federal Institute for Material Research and Testing (BAM) before the articles can be sold in Germany. Sellers pay a notification fee, and may also be required to amend the user instructions. The Commission believes that by imposing these additional obligations on pyrotechnic articles lawfully manufactured and certified by an approved body in another Member State, Germany is not complying with the Pyrotechnic Articles Directive.

(For more information: IP/15/4444 - Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182)

Taxation: GERMANY referred to the Court for limitation of VAT exemption granted to shared services

The European Commission has decided to refer Germany to the Court of Justice of the European Union to ensure that the German VAT legislation on exemptions for sharing costs of services complies with EU law. Cost sharing groups are associations of taxpayers who came together to purchase services from third parties. The VAT Directive exempts from VAT services that cost sharing groups can supply to their members under the following conditions: the members' activities should be exempted from VAT, the shared services should be directly necessary to the members' activities, the group should claim exact reimbursement of each member's share of the joint expenses and finally, such exemption should not cause distortions of competition. This rule does not limit the exemption to any sector.

(For more information: IP/15/4493 - Vanessa Mock - Tel. +32 2 29 56194)

Taxation: Commission refers PORTUGAL to Court for failing to amend registration tax for second-hand vehicles in compliance with EU law

The European Commission has decided to refer Portugal to the Court of Justice of the European Union for its failure to amend registration tax rules for imported second-hand vehicles.

Under Portuguese law, the calculation of the taxable value of second-hand vehicles introduced into Portugal from another Member State does not take into account the real value of the vehicle. No depreciation is taken into consideration before the vehicle is one year old and no further depreciation is taken into account of for vehicles older than five years. This may result in higher taxation for imported vehicles than for domestically purchased vehicles.

(For more information: IP/15/4495- Vanessa Mock - Tel. +32 2 29 56194)

Transport: Commission refers AUSTRIA and LUXEMBOURG to Court for not complying with bus and coach rules on passenger rights

The European Commission has decided to refer Austria and Luxembourg to the European Court of Justice for not complying with the EU Regulation establishing the rights of passengers travelling by bus and coach (Regulation (EU) No 181/2011).

According to the Regulation, Member States have to designate competent authorities to monitor the application of the rules and to handle passenger complaints. They have to set up a penalty system to sanction those operators that breach the Regulation, and they have to designate terminals where disabled passengers can receive appropriate assistance for their journeys. Austria has not adopted any of these measures despite the Commission's reasoned opinion of March 2014. Luxembourg has failed to set up the necessary penalty system despite the Commission's reasoned opinion of September 2014.

(For more information: IP/15/4496- Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50195)

Transport: Commission refers DENMARK to Court on rail safety

The European Commission has decided to refer Denmark to the European Court of Justice for not correctly transposing European rules on rail safety (Directive 2004/49/EC). The rules aim to ensure safety on the railways and improve access to the market for rail transport services. Member States are required to harmonise the regulatory structures, define safety responsibilities between actors as well as develop common safety targets and safety methods. The harmonisation of national rules requires the establishment of a national safety authority and an accident and incident investigating body. The deadline for implementation was 30 April 2006.

(For more information: IP/15/4498- Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50195)

 

2. Reasoned opinions

 

Employment: Commission requests GERMANY to respect the reference period to calculate average weekly working time for German civil service

The European Commission has requested Germany to respect, in the case of civil servants, the reference period set by the Working Time Directive to calculate the maximum average weekly working time. Under this Directive (2003/88/EC), workers have the right to a limitation of their average weekly working time to 48 hours, calculated over a so-called ‘reference period’ of up to 4 months. This means that workers can be required to work more than 48 hours in certain weeks, as long as this is balanced out over a 4-month period. By contrast, German law provides a 12-month reference period for the application of the 48-hour limit, as regards civil servants. The Directive allows Member States to set up longer reference periods in certain situations, such as for activities requiring a need for continuity of service provision. However, even in such cases, the reference period should not exceed 6 months. The only exception, allowing an extension of the reference period to 12 months, is when the workers concerned have collectively agreed to this by means of a collective agreement. As this is not the case for the German civil service, German law is incompatible with the Working Time Directive.

The Commission received complaints about this situation, and already sent a letter of formal notice to Germany in July 2014. Its request now takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures. Germany has two months to notify the Commission of the measures taken to bring national legislation in line with EU law. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer this Member State to the European Court of Justice.

(For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253)

Energy: Commission requests GREECE, PORTUGAL and SLOVENIA to comply with EU rules on Energy Efficiency Directive

The European Commission has formally requested Greece and Portugal to ensure the full transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive (Directive 2012/27/EU). Under this Directive Member States must achieve certain energy savings over the period from 1 January 2014 – 31 December 2020. They have to do this by using Energy Efficiency Obligations Schemes and other targeted policy measures to drive energy efficiency improvements in households, industry and transport sectors. Energy Efficiency Obligations Schemes are mandatory for energy providers. Companies have to take measures to ensure energy savings at final customer level, for example by giving advice on installing better insulation or offering grants for replacing old energy wasting windows. The Directive had to be transposed into national law by 5 June 2014. The Commission sent today a reasoned opinion to Greece and Portugal asking them to notify the Commission of all their transposition measures for the Directive. This procedure may bring the Commission to ask financial sanctions before the Court if the Member States do not transpose the EU directive.

In addition, the Commission has also formally requested Slovenia, which has already transposed the Directive into national law, to submit a National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and long-term strategy for mobilising investment in the renovation of the national stock of residential and commercial buildings. These plans had to be sent by 30 April 2014. The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion. If Slovenia does not comply with its legal obligation within two months, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice.

(For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186)

Environment: Commission asks LATVIA and ROMANIA to enact EU rules on sulphur emissions from ships

The European Commission is asking Latvia and Romania to transpose EU legislation on the sulphur content of marine fuels in their domestic law and to communicate the transposition measures to the Commission. This obligation had to be fulfilled by 18 June 2014. Sulphur dioxide can have an adverse effect on human health and is one of the main factors behind the problem of acidification. The revised legislation on the sulphur content of liquid fuels aims to reduce the emissions of this air pollutant by setting maximum sulphur content levels for heavy fuel oil and gas oil. It also incorporates new standards set by the International Maritime Organisation into EU law to ensure their proper and harmonised enforcement by all EU Member States. After missing the original deadline, Latvia and Romania were sent letters of formal notice on 22 July 2014. The Commission is now sending reasoned opinions, and if the Member States in question fail to act within two months, the cases may be referred to the EU Court of Justice. This procedure may bring the Commission to ask financial sanctions before the Court if the Member States do not transpose the EU directive.

(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)

Environment: Commission asks ESTONIA to enact EU legislation on Marine Strategy

The European Commission is asking Estonia to comply with EU legislation requiring Member States to draw up marine strategies to protect their seas. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive aims to ensure that Europe's seas achieve good environmental status by 2020. The Directive requires Member States to draw up coordinated strategies to protect and restore Europe's marine ecosystems, and to ensure the ecological sustainability of activities linked to the marine environment. Estonia has failed to inform the Commission about all the transposition measures of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which should have been in place by 15 July 2010. Since the transposition is still partial, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion. If Estonia fails to inform the Commission within two months of the measures taken to transpose the relevant EU legislation, the Commission could refer the case to the European 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. This procedure may bring the Commission to ask financial sanctions before the Court if the Member States do not transpose the EU directive.

(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)

Environment: Commission asks POLAND to act on air pollution

The European Commission is asking Poland to comply with EU legislation requiring Member States to limit citizens' exposure to fine dust particles (PM10) by defining specific limit values to be observed. Tiny PM10 particles can cause asthma, cardiovascular problems, lung cancer, and premature death. In Poland, they originate mostly in emissions from coal for domestic heating, traffic, and industry.  The latest figures from Poland show that the maximum daily limits for these particles is being exceeded in 36 zones, with yearly limits also being exceeded in 12 zones. Under EU law, Member States are obliged to take all the necessary measures to improve air quality, and to make this information available in form of air quality plans. The Commission believes that Poland has failed to take appropriate measures that should have been in place since 2005 to protect citizens' health, and is asking for forward-looking, speedy and effective action to keep the period of non-compliance as short as possible.  Today's action, an additional reasoned opinion, gives Poland two months to respond. If the Member State fails to act within the prescribed period, the Commission may take the matter to the EU Court of Justice.

(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)

Environment: Commission asks POLAND to ensure drilling activities comply with EU standards

The European Commission is asking Poland to ensure that all exploratory drilling activities are carried out with due regard to EU standards. Under Polish law, exploratory drilling to depths of up to 5000 metres does not require the environmental impact to be assessed beforehand. EU law however, requires that any project that is likely to have a significant effect on the environment, by virtue of its nature, size or location, be assessed beforehand, in line with the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. This exclusion from the scope of the relevant EU law is contrary to EU law, and this has been recently repeated by a European Court of Justice on a ruling delivered on 11 February. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice about the matter in July 2014, but as the shortcomings have still not been rectified, a reasoned opinion is now being sent. Poland has two months to respond. If the Member State fails to act within the prescribed period, the Commission may take the matter to the EU Court of Justice.

(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)

Environment: Commission asks SPAIN to improve treatment of wastewater from small agglomerations

The European Commission is asking Spain to improve the collection and treatment of waste water from a large number of small and medium-sized agglomerations around the country. Under EU law, towns and cities are required to collect and treat their urban waste water, as untreated waste water can put human health at risk and pollutes lakes, rivers, soil and coastal and groundwater. EU law stipulates that secondary treatment had to be in place for all wastewater from agglomerations with a population equivalent of between 10 000 and 15 000 inhabitants by 2005, and for discharges to freshwater and estuaries from agglomerations of between 2000 and 10 000 inhabitants. In a Letter of Formal Notice in June 2012, the Commission noted that 612 agglomerations of between 2000 and 15 000 population equivalent were failing to comply with European norms. Spain's reply has confirmed what the Commission views as a systematic breach of EU obligations, and more than 8 years after the initial deadline, over 600 small agglomerations in Spain are still falling short of EU standards. A reasoned opinion has therefore been sent. Unless concrete measures are taken to put an end to the failure as soon as possible, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice.

(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)

Growth: Commission asks SPAIN to comply with EU rules for recognition of proof-marking of antique firearms

The European Commission has today requested Spain to comply with EU rules for the recognition of proof-marking of antique firearms which have been lawfully marketed in other Member States. The EU took account of the particular characteristics of the market for antique weapons when it designed legislation to ensure the traceability of arms through their identification and registration by EU Member States. A fundamental element of the law specifically exempts old but fully functional firearms held by collectors and museums from the authenticity marking requirements, if these firearms are already marked with "historic" proof-markings. The Spanish authorities however require additional proof-marking of antique firearms imported from other Member States, even if these have already been lawfully marketed and proof-marked in another Member State. The Commission finds that the Spanish law is neither proportional nor necessary and restricts the free movement of goods in the EU.

The Commission's request to Spain to change its law takes form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. The Commission stands ready to continue assisting Spain in finding other, less trade restrictive measures to ensure the legitimate objective of public security, thus avoiding the need to refer the case to the EU's Court of Justice. More information on EU Directives on Defence and Firearms website.

(For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182)

Health: Commission urges ESTONIA, ITALY and SLOVENIA to notify transposition of the information procedures for the exchange of human organs between Member States

The European Commission has today formally requested Estonia, Italy and Slovenia to notify the transposition measures of the information procedures for the exchange of human organs (Directive 2012/25/EU). This Directive lays down procedures to facilitate cooperation between Member States and mutual understanding of the information on organs and donor characterisation, for their traceability and for the reporting of serious adverse events and reactions.

To date, the above Member States have not yet notified the Commission of the measures transposing this Directive into national law, despite being required to do so by 10 April 2014. The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion. Estonia, Italy and Slovenia have two months to communicate to the Commission the measures taken to transpose Directive 2012/25/EU. Failure to notify these measures could lead the Commission to referring the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

(For more information: Enrico Brivio - Tel. +32 295 6172)

Health: Commission urges DENMARK, ESTONIA and ITALY to notify transposition of the rules on certain technical requirements on testing of human tissues and cells

The European Commission has today formally requested Denmark, Estonia and Italy to notify the transposition measures of Directive 2012/39/EU which amends the existing requirements applicable to the testing of human tissues and cells. In particular, the Directive addresses (i) HTLV-I antibody testing requirements across the Member States and (ii) blood samples testing for donation by partners. To date, the above Member States have not notified the Commission of the measures transposing this Directive into national law, despite being required to do so by 17 June 2014.

The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion. Denmark, Estonia and Italy have two months to inform the Commission of the measures taken to transpose Directive 2012/39/EU. Failure to notify these measures could lead to the Commission referring the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

(For more information: Enrico Brivio - Tel. +32 295 6172)

Health: Commission urges BULGARIA to notify transposition on harmful organism Directive

The European Commission has today formally requested Bulgaria to notify the measures transposing a Directive on harmful organisms. This Directive withdraws the Diabrotica virgifera virgifera (Western Corn Rootworm), a harmful organism of maize, from the list of regulated harmful organisms because this plant pest is now established in a large part of the Union territory. To date, Bulgaria has not yet notified the Commission of the measures transposing this Directive into national law, despite being required to do so by 31 May 2014.

The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion. Bulgaria has two months to inform the Commission of the measures taken to transpose Directive 2014/19/EU. Failure to notify these measures could lead to the Commission referring the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

(For more information: Enrico Brivio - Tel. +32 295 6172)

Health: Commission urges POLAND to transpose provisions of EU directives on quality and safety standards for human blood

The European Commission has today formally requested Poland, asking to correctly transpose certain provisions of Directives that lay down quality and safety for human blood (2002/98/EC, 2004/33/EC and 2005/61/EC). Amongst other measures, they set eligibility criteria for donors, conditions for importing blood from third counties, and reporting obligations of blood establishments. On eligibility of donors, the rules in Polish legislation on admissibility of minors are less protective than the EU rules, and certain technical requirements on the health condition of donors are less stringent than the EU rules. On blood imported from third countries, Polish law does not stipulate equivalent traceability and testing requirements to those applicable to blood collected in the EU. Finally, on reporting obligations of blood establishments, the required content of their annual activity reports is not fully reflected in the Polish legislation.

The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion. If Poland fails to inform the Commission, within two months of this formal request, of the transposition of the relevant EU legislation, the Commission could refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

(For more information: Enrico Brivio - Tel. +32 295 6172)

Taxation: Commission requests FINLAND to amend its car tax legislation as regards leasing and rental vehicles

The European Commission has today formally requested Finland to amend its legislation to ensure that only a proportionate amount of car tax is levied upon the registration by a Finnish resident of a motor vehicle leased or rented in another Member State. The case concerns situations where the precise duration of the use can be determined, for instance on the basis of a leasing or rental contract.

The Commission is also concerned that the conditions and modalities of the refund system may discourage persons from making use of their freedom to provide and receive services from other Member States.

The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer Finland to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

(For more information: Vanessa Mock - Tel. +32 2 29 56194)

Taxation: Commission requests IRELAND to amend its car tax legislation as regards leasing and rental vehicles

The European Commission has today formally requested Ireland to amend its legislation to ensure that only a proportionate amount of car tax is levied upon the registration by an Irish resident of a motor vehicle leased or rented in another Member State. The case concerns situations where the precise duration of the use can be determined, for instance on the basis of a leasing or rental contract.

The resulting costs and administrative burdens regarding vehicles which are used in Ireland for a limited period of time seem considerably higher than those incurred for vehicles which are registered in Ireland permanently or for most of their lifetime. Therefore, the Commission is also concerned that the conditions for the export repayment scheme in its current form are discouraging the provision of related cross-border services.

The Commission's request takes the form of an additional reasoned opinion. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer Ireland to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

(For more information: Vanessa Mock - Tel. +32 2 29 56194)

 

Taxation: Commission requests the UNITED KINDGOM to amend its excise duty legislation granting exemption for cider and perry made by small producers

The European Commission has today formally requested the United Kingdom to amend its excise duty scheme that exempts from duty cider and perry made by small domestic producers. This exemption concerns producers, whose production does not exceed 70 hectolitres over a period of 12 consecutive months and who make such products for sale.

EU excise duty rules oblige Member States to levy an excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages. There are no provisions which would provide for an exception to the general obligation to levy excise duty in respect of cider and perry made for sale by small domestic producers. The UK excise duty scheme therefore contravenes EU legislation, which was unanimously agreed and which does not allow for such exemption in any of the Member States.

The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

(For more information: Vanessa Mock - Tel. +32 2 29 56194)

 

Transport:  Commission asks 18 Member States to correctly apply EU rules on driving licences

The European Commission has requested Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, France, Finland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia to correctly implement the EU Directive on driving licences (Directive 2006/126/EC). These updated rules on driving licences have introduced among others new driving licence categories, a harmonised validity of the driving licence document and established a network to exchange driving licence information (RESPER). These new rules will help reduce the possibility of fraud, guarantee the freedom of movement for EU drivers and reinforce safety on European roads. More information available here.

(For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50195)

 

Transport: Commission asks BULGARIA and POLAND to transpose EU rules on rail safety

The European Commission has asked Bulgaria and Poland to correctly transpose EU rules on railway safety (Directive 2004/49/EC). Applying EU rules on rail safety is necessary to ensure that rail networks across the Union have the highest safety levels.

In Bulgaria it concerns the definition of railway undertakings, development and improvement of railway safety, safety certificates, and decision-making of the safety authority and independence of the investigating body. In Poland it concerns safety management, responsibility of railway undertakings and infrastructure managers as well as the independence of the safety authority and of the investigating body.

The EU rules develop a common approach to railway safety, establishing safety requirements, including safe management of infrastructure and traffic operation, roles and responsibilities of railway undertakings and infrastructure managers and their interaction, common safety regulatory framework, regulation, management, supervision of safety and independent investigation of accidents. The legislation should have been in place since 30 April 2006. If Bulgaria and Poland fail to react adequately, the Commission may refer the matter to the EU Court of Justice. The Commission opened infringement proceedings against Bulgaria on the matter in June 2013 and against Poland in February 2014. Now a reasoned opinion is being sent. Bulgaria and Poland have two months to reply to the Commission.

(For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50195)

Transport: Commission asks AUSTRIA to fully implement the rules on inland waterway travel

The European Commission has requested Austria to fully implement the Passengers Rights Regulation (Regulation 1177/2010) for inland waterways services to and from Austrian ports. Austria has not yet set-up an institutional body to handle complaints from passengers, and it has failed to lay down rules on penalties to apply when the Regulation is breached. The Regulation sets out the rights of passengers traveling by Inland Waterways in the EU, and it cannot be properly enforced without the completion of these two requirements. The rules entered into force on 6 January 2011, and Member States were legally required to implement them by 18 December 2012. The request has been sent in the form of a reasoned opinion under the EU infringement procedures. Austria has two months to notify the Commission of the measures taken to apply the Regulation correctly; otherwise the Commission may decide to refer Austria to the EU's Court of Justice.

(For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50195)

Transport: Commission asks LUXEMBOURG to transpose EU rules on rail interoperability

The European Commission has asked Luxembourg to correctly transpose EU rules on railway interoperability (Directive 2008/57/EC), particularly regarding vehicle authorisation and the marking of rail vehicles.

The directive establishes the conditions for interoperability, i.e. the compatibility of infrastructure, rolling stock, signalling and other subsystems of the rail system, within the European rail transport system; and thus enables the rail sector to compete more effectively with other transport modes. EU legislation on railway interoperability needs to be applied in all Member States to allow citizens to travel easily through Europe and to promote a safe and environmentally friendly transport mode.

The legislation should have been in place since July 2010. If Luxembourg fails to react satisfactorily, the Commission may refer the matter to the EU Court of Justice. The Commission opened infringement proceedings against Luxembourg on the matter in July 2014, and a reasoned opinion is now being sent. Luxembourg has two months to reply to the Commission.

(For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50195)

3. Other important decisions


Energy: Commission withdraws Court case against POLAND for failing to transpose EU rules

The Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources) aims at ensuring a 20% share of renewable energy in the EU by 2020. The Directive had to be transposed by the Member States by 5 December 2010.

The Commission sent a Letter of Formal Notice in January 2011, a Reasoned Opinion in March 2012 and referred the case to the Court of Justice for complete absence of transposition in March 2013. A penalty for non-transposition was originally proposed under Art. 260(3) TFEU, amounting to EUR 133.228,80 per day.

Poland transposed part of the provisions of the Directive during the Court proceedings. Consequently, the Commission narrowed down the scope of the application to the obligations which were still missing and reduced the proposed penalty to EUR 61.380 per day. A hearing before the Court took place on 7 October 2014 and the Advocate-General Wathelet delivered his Opinion on the case on 11 December 2014.

For the sake of consistency, the Commission has decided to apply its normal practice – as set out in its Communication on the implementation of Article 260(3) TFEU, which consists in withdrawing pending cases before the Court of Justice where only a daily penalty has been proposed, if the Member State complies with the obligation to transpose the Directive's obligations into national law. In this specific case, Poland notified the full transposition of the Renewable Energy Directive on 29 January 2015.

Nevertheless, the Commission has also decided to review before summer its policy on infringement procedures and in particular on the application of Article 260(3) TFEU for the future in order to ensure more effective and timely transposition of EU Directives in the Member States.

In addition, the Commission draws attention to paragraph 10 of its Communication on the implementation of Article 260(3), and reserves the right to use its discretion and to depart from the general criteria set out in its Communication, giving detailed reasons, where appropriate in particular cases.

(For more information: IP/15/4499- Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186)

 

Annex: Overview of February infringement package per country

MEMO/15/4489

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