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European Commission - Fact Sheet

April infringements package: main decisions

Brussels, 29 April 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 120 decisions, including 38 reasoned opinions and 6 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

 

Competition: Commission refers ITALY to Court for failure to recover illegal aid

The European Commission has decided to refer Italy to the EU Court of Justice because it did not fully recover the state aid illegally granted to the hotel industry in Sardinia. This is the second time the Commission is taking Italy to Court regarding aid to several hotels in Sardinia, as the Italian authorities did not comply with the Court's first ruling of March 2012 (case C-243/10). This followed a Commission decision of July 2008 finding that the Autonomous Region of Sardinia had granted aid to some hotel companies in breach of the conditions laid down in the framework approved by the Commission. The Commission ordered Italy to recover illegal aid amounting to close to EUR 15 million.

As of today, almost EUR 13 million (of the initial EUR 15 million) have not been recovered. The Commission therefore asks the Court of Justice to condemn Italy a second time and requests that the Court impose on Italy a lump sum penalty of around EUR 20 million, in addition to a daily penalty payment of about EUR 160,000 until Italy has fully recovered the aid and thereby ended the infringement.

(For more information: IP/15/4872 - Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100)

 

Environment: Commission takes FRANCE to Court over poor waste water treatment

The European Commission takes France to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for not complying with EU legislation on urban waste water treatment. Some 17 agglomerations are listed as not having waste water treatment up to EU standards. Untreated urban waste water can endanger the health of European citizens and the environment. The European Commission has to ensure that the level of treatment of urban waste water can be guaranteed throughout the European Union. France was first warned in 2009 about this particular case, which concerns areas with a population equivalent in a range between 2000 and 15000.

EU legislation on urban waste water treatment dates back to 1991, but provided long implementation deadlines. Member States had until the end of 2000 to ensure appropriate treatment for wastewater from large agglomerations, and until the end of 2005 for discharges from medium-sized agglomerations and discharges to freshwater and estuaries from small agglomerations.

(For more information: IP/15/4873- Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)

 

Environment: Commission takes ROMANIA to Court over failure to amend packaging waste legislation

The European Commission is referring Romania to the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) over its failure to enact revised EU legislation on packaging waste into domestic law. The revised Packaging Directive updates rules on packaging and packaging waste, with a view to reducing their impact on the environment.

Member States had to bring into force the laws necessary to comply with this Directive by 30 September 2013. After it missed the original deadline, Romania was sent a letter of formal notice on 29 November 2013, followed by a reasoned opinion on 11 July 2014. More than one year and a half after the deadline, the Directive is still not enacted into domestic legislation. The Commission has thus decided to call Romania before the EU Court of Justice.

(For more information: IP/15/4874- Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)

 

Environment: Commission takes POLAND and SLOVENIA to Court for e-waste failings

The European Commission is referring Poland and Slovenia to the EU Court of Justice over their failure to enact EU legislation on the recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment. The EU rules, which should have been enacted into national law by 14 February 2014, are intended to prevent or reduce negative environmental impacts from this fast increasing waste stream. The rules are a "recast" of the previous WEEE Directive, and they incorporate a number of new or substantially modified provisions. None of the Member States in question have enacted any of these new or substantially modified provisions.

For Poland, the Commission is asking the Court to impose penalty payments of EUR 71 610 per day until the law is enacted.

For Slovenia, the Commission is asking the Court to impose penalty payments of EUR 8 408.4 per day until the law is enacted.

(For more information: IP/15/4875 - Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)


Internal Market: Nationality requirement for notaries: Commission takes HUNGARY to Court to ensure non-discrimination

The European Commission has decided to take Hungary to the EU Court of Justice because the country only allows Hungarian nationals to take up and practice the profession of notary in Hungary, thus excluding nationals from other Member States.

In the Commission’s view, this nationality requirement runs contrary to rules on freedom of establishment and cannot be justified under Article 51 TFEU, which concerns activities linked to official authority.

(For more information: IP/15/4876 - Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182)

 

2. Reasoned opinions

 

Employment: Working Time: Commission requests DENMARK to respect workers’ right to take their annual leave in the same year in which it was accrued

The European Commission has asked Denmark to respect the right of workers to take their minimum paid annual leave in the same year in which it was accrued. Under the Working Time Directive (Directive 2003/88/EC), workers have the right to minimum paid annual leave of 4 weeks. In Denmark, the national rules provide that annual leave has to be taken in the ‘holiday year’ following ‘the qualification year’. For certain workers, such as those newly entering the Danish labour market and those with fixed-term contracts, this means that they cannot take any annual leave in the first year of employment or at all while employed. This is contrary to the fundamental EU social right to minimum paid annual leave. In its case law, the EU Court of Justice has explicitly held that the positive effect of paid annual leave for the safety and health of the worker is only "deployed fully if it is taken in the year prescribed for that purpose, namely the current year". The Danish rules are therefore incompatible with the Working Time Directive.

The Commission received a complaint about this situation, and sent a letter of formal notice to Denmark in September 2014. Denmark replied in November 2014. Following the analysis of the reply, the Commission still considers that the infringement is not resolved. Its request now takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures. Denmark 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 EU Court of Justice.

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

 

Energy: Commission requests AUSTRIA, CROATIA, IRELAND, LATVIA and ROMANIA to fully transpose the EU Energy Efficiency Directive

The European Commission has asked Austria, Croatia, Ireland, Latvia and Romania to ensure the full transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive. Under this Directive Member States must achieve energy savings over the period from 1 January 2014 till 31 December 2020. They have to do this by using Energy Efficiency Obligations Schemes and/or other targeted policy measures to drive energy efficiency improvements in households, industry and transport sectors. Under the Energy Efficiency Obligations Schemes, 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. Today the Commission sent reasoned opinions to these five Member States asking them to fully transpose the Directive into national law. If the Member States do not comply with this obligation within two months, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice of the EU and ask for financial penalties. In the course of the second semester of 2014, the Commission launched infringement procedures for non-transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive against 27 EU Member States (all except Malta). In November 2014 the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria and Hungary. In February 2015 reasoned opinions were sent to Greece and Portugal. In March 2015, the Commission decided to refer Hungary to court with financial penalties, as not a single transposition measure was adopted. The Commission continues to monitor the implementation of the Directive and will address any shortcomings in the coming infringement cycles. More information about the Energy Efficiency Directive is available on the website of DG Energy.

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

 

Energy efficiency in buildings: Commission asks ITALY, the NETHERLANDS and POLAND to comply with EU rules

The European Commission has asked Italy, the Netherlands and Poland to take action and ensure that the Energy efficiency in buildings directive is fully transposed into national law. Under this Directive, Member States must establish and apply minimum energy performance requirements for new and existing buildings, ensure the certification of buildings' energy performance and require the regular inspection of heating and air conditioning systems. In addition, the directive requires Member States to ensure that from 2021 onwards all new buildings will be nearly ‘zero-energy’ buildings. The Directive had to be transposed by 9 July 2012. Italy and the Netherlands have already received a reasoned opinion for failing to adopt any measures to transpose the Directive, in January and June 2013 respectively. Both countries have adopted transposition measures in the meantime, but some of the provisions of the Directive still remain non-transposed. Regarding Poland, in July 2014 the Commission decided to refer the country to the Court of Justice of the EU. Shortly afterwards Poland responded with the adoption of measures to transpose the Directive. However, following a further analysis by the Commission it appears that a few of the Directive’s provisions have still not been transposed. The Commission has therefore sent additional reasoned opinions to the three Member States asking them to fully transpose the remaining provisions of the Directive. The additional reasoned opinion to Poland suspends the decision for a referral to court. If the Member States do not comply with their legal obligation within two months, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice at a later stage which could as well include financial penalties. As no Member State had transposed all the EU rules under this Directive by the deadline, the Commission opened infringement procedures against all 28 Member States. In 2014, the Commission decided to refer four Member States to court (Austria, Belgium, Finland and Poland). Meanwhile, as Belgium and Finland had fully transposed the Directive, the Commission decided to withdraw the court cases against the two Member States. Since then most Member States have now complied with their transposition obligation and the only infringements remaining open are against Austria, Italy, the Netherlands the Czech Republic and Poland. Further legal action regarding these cases could be expected in the following infringement cycles. More information about the Energy Efficiency in Buildings Directive is available on the website of DG Energy.

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

 

Energy: POLAND asked to correctly apply the Renewable Energy Directive

By sending a reasoned opinion, the European Commission has askedPoland to ensure the correct implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive in particular as regards biofuels. The Directive includes key provisions for achieving the objectives of reaching 20% share of renewable energy in final energy consumption in 2020. It also includes key provisions setting individual targets for the overall share of renewable energy in each Member State's energy consumption and for achieving a target of 10% share of renewable energy in transport in 2020. Biofuels can be used to achieve this target, but they must meet a set of sustainability requirements. Member States must also treat biofuels and their raw materials equally regardless of their origin. Contrary to what is foreseen by the Directive, Polish law treats sustainable biofuels and raw materials of different geographical origins differently in an unjustified manner. The Commission has addressed similar problems in infringement procedures against Spain and Portugal. More information about the Renewable Energy Directive on the website of DG Energy.

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

 

Environment: Commission asks BULGARIA to upgrade its mining waste legislation

The European Commission has asked Bulgaria to bring its legislation into full conformity with EU rules on the management of waste from extractive industries. The Mining Waste Directive aims to prevent or reduce as far as possible any adverse effects on human health and the environment, brought about as a result of the management of waste from extractive industries. As a number of shortcomings in the Bulgarian legislation may lead to a lower level of protection for human health and/or the environment, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice in January 2014.Bulgaria has still not adopted the necessary measures, so the Commission is now sending a reasoned opinion. If Bulgaria fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice.

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

 

Environment: Commission asks CYPRUS to respect Habitats Directive

The European Commission has asked Cyprus to respect EU rules on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna. The Habitats Directive requires all projects likely to have a significant impact on a Natura 2000 site to undergo an assessment of their implications on the site. This appears not to have happened for a development project in the area of Limni – part of the Natura 2000 network – which includes two golf courses and supporting infrastructure. The Commission sent Cyprus a letter of formal notice on 11 July 2014, but as Cyprus has authorised the project without having carried out a proper assessment of its impact on the Natura 2000, the Commission is now sending a reasoned opinion. If Cyprus fails to act within two months, the Commission may take the matter to the EU Court of Justice.

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

 

Environment: Commission asks SLOVAKIA to enact EU rules on waste electrical and electronic equipment

The European Commission has asked Slovakia to send details about how EU legislation on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is being enacted in their domestic law, an obligation that was due to be fulfilled by 14 February 2014. The new WEEE Directive replaces and updates older rules on waste electrical and electronic equipment and seeks to prevent or reduce adverse impacts of the generation and management of WEEE on human health and the environment. It also seeks to improve efficiency and overall impacts of resource use, thereby contributing to sustainable development. After missing the original deadline, Slovakia was sent a letter of formal notice on 31 March 2014. As the new Waste Act, which should transfer the Directive into national law, enters into force only as of 1 January 2016, the Commission is now sending a reasoned opinion. If Slovakia fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice. Poland and Slovenia have already been referred to the Court on precisely these grounds.

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

 

Environment: Commission asks POLAND to enact EU rules on groundwater protection

The European Commission has asked Poland to bring its national laws on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration into line with the Groundwater Directive. The Commission identified shortcomings in Poland's enactment of this legislation, and sent a letter of formal notice on 24 November 2011. Poland subsequently notified three acts, which address many identified gaps, but problems remain, including as regards assessment of groundwater status. The Commission is thus sending a reasoned opinion. If Poland fails to act within two months, the Commission may take the matter to the Court of Justice.

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

 

Environment: Commission asks FINLAND to act on bird protection

The European Commission has asked the Republic of Finland to bring its hunting legislation into line with the Birds Directive. Under the Birds Directive the killing of wild birds is banned, but some species, such as Eiders (somateria mollissima), may be hunted as long as this does not occur during the breeding or spring migration season. Despite decreasing populations of this waterfowl species, Finland has authorised hunting of the Eider males during their reproductive period, which is strictly forbidden under the Birds Directive. The Commission sent an additional letter of formal notice on 22 November 2012. As the summer hunting of Eiders continues, and Finland has failed to take measures to comply with the Directive's requirements, the Commission is now sending a reasoned opinion. If Finland fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice.

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

 

Environment: Commission asks FRANCE to act on air pollution

The European Commission has asked France 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. These tiny particles originate in emissions from industry, traffic and domestic heating, and they can cause asthma, cardiovascular problems, lung cancer and premature death. The latest figures from the French authorities show that the air pollution problem persists, with the maximum daily limits for these particles being exceeded in 10 zones: Paris, Lyon, Grenoble, Marseille, Martinique, Rhône-Alpes– ZUR (Vallée de l'Arve), PACA–ZUR(Zone Urbaine Régionale), Nice, Toulon, Douai-Béthune-Valenciennes. The Commission considers that France has failed to take measures that should have been in place since 2005 to protect citizens' health, and is asking it to take forward-looking, speedy and effective action to keep the period of non-compliance as short as possible. Today's additional reasoned opinion follows a complementary letter of formal notice sent on 22 February 2013. If France fails to act within two months, the Commission may take the matter to the EU Court of Justice.

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

 

Environment: Commission asks FRANCE to enact EU rules on sulphur emissions from ships

The European Commission has asked France to send details about how EU legislation on the sulphur content of marine fuels is being enacted in their domestic law, an obligation due to be fulfilled by 18 June 2014. Sulphur dioxide is one of the main factors behind the problem of acidification and can have adverse implications for human health. The revised legislationon 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, France was sent a letter of formal notice on 22 July 2014. The Commission is now sending a reasoned opinion, and if France fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice.

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

 

Environment: Commission asks SPAIN to comply with Environmental Impact Directive

The European Commission has asked Spain to comply with EU rules to ensure that a project of upgrading an electrical power line in the metropolitan area of Barcelona does not pose risks to the environment. The project entails a significant voltage increase in the section between the towns of Sentmenat and Santa Coloma de Gramenet and the construction of two new transformer substations. Under the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, projects likely to have significant effects on the environment must undergo an assessment of their effects on the environment before being approved. As the proposed power line crosses one of the most densely populated areas in Spain, and is likely to have a considerable impact on the environment, the Commission is asking Spain to carry out a screening procedure to determine whether an environmental impact assessment is necessary.Today's reasoned opinion follows a letter of formal notice sent on 14 July 2014. If Spain fails to act within two months, the Commission may take the matter to the EU Court of Justice.

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

 

Environment Commission asks the UNITED KINGDOM to act on emissions from small waste oil burners

The European Commission has asked the United Kingdom to comply with EU rules on industrial emissions regarding small waste oil burners. Emissions from small waste oil burners, which are commonly used in workshops and garages to burn waste oils to generate heat with little or no environmental control, contribute to local air pollution and expose workers in these premises to health hazards. By allowing this practice to continue in England and Wales, the UK is in breach of the Industrial Emissions Directive, which aims to minimise pollution from various industrial sources. Today's reasoned opinion follows a letter of formal notice sent on 27 November 2014. If the UK fails to act within two months, the Commission may take the matter to the EU Court of Justice.

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

 

Internal Market: Commission asks GERMANY to comply with EU rules on recognition of professional qualifications following Croatia's accession to the EU

The European Commission has today asked Germany to fully implement into national law EU rules adapting certain directives in the field of right of establishment and freedom to provide services following the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the EU. This infringement relates to the recognition of professional qualifications of architects and construction engineers.

The new EU rules amend, among others, the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications adding Croatian diplomas to the lists of national professional qualifications to be recognised by a host Member State. Member States had to adopt and publish, by the date of accession of Croatia at the latest (1 July 2013), the appropriate laws, regulations and administrative provisions. However until now, a German region has not amended its legislation for the specific cases of architects and construction engineers and so does not provide for recognition of Croatian qualifications in these fields.

The Commission's request to Germany to fully adapt its law in line with EU rules takes the form ofa reasoned opinion under the EU infringement procedure. If there is no satisfactory reply by Germany within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the EU's Court of Justice.

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

 

Home Affairs: Commission asks BELGIUM, SPAIN and SLOVENIA to implement rules on a Single Permit and a clear set of rights for legal migrant workers

The European Commission is concerned that Belgium, Spain and Slovenia have not taken sufficient action to implementDirective 2011/98/EU. The Directive introduces a single application procedure for 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 so-called "Single Permit Directive" had to be implemented by 25 December 2013.

Despite letters of formal notice (the first step of an infringement procedure) sent in January 2014 to Spain and Slovenia and in March 2014 to Belgium, the three countries have not yet notified the Commission of full transposition of this Directive in their respective legal orders. As a result, the Commission decided today to address reasoned opinions to Belgium, Spain and Slovenia. The three countries have two months to notify the Commission of measures taken to bring national legislation into line with EU law. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer them to the EU's Court of Justice.

(For more information: Natasha Bertaud– Tel.: +32 229 67456

 

Home Affairs: Commission asks BULGARIA, ESTONIA, GREECE and LITHUANIA to comply with certain obligations under EU document security legislation

By sending reasoned opinions, the European Commission has askedfour countries to ensure the mandatory exchange of information under the EU document security legislation and the integration of biometric features in residence permits.

Almost three years after the deadline (20 May 2012), Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece and Lithuania have not yet set up a Single Point of Contact to ensure a smooth implementation of security features' standards and meaningful communication between Member States. The establishment of such contact points is mandatory and should allow for the exchange of information necessary to access the fingerprint images stored on the chip of documents (passports and residence permits).

In addition, Greece still does not issue residence permits containing two fingerprints of the holder. The harmonisation of security features and the integration of biometric identifiers is an important step towards more secure documents and better protection against fraud. The Commission therefore asks the Greek authorities to implement the biometric identifiers in the residence permit for third country nationals – as required by Regulation 1030/2002.

Authorities from Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece and Lithuania now have two months to take the necessary measures to comply with the Commission's requests. If they fail to do so, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the EU Court of Justice.

(For more information: Natasha Bertaud– Tel.: +32 229 67456

 

Telecommunications: Commission asks the CZECH REPUBLIC to comply with EU Authorisation Directive

The European Commission has asked the Czech Republic to bring its legislation in line with EU telecoms rules. The Commission has concerns that, contrary to the EU Authorisation Directive, the Czech legal system requires telecoms operators to apply for registration in the Commercial Register as well as to establish a seat in the Czech Republic in order to provide electronic communications services. This makes it more difficult for a foreign operator to provide telecoms services in the country. The Commission also has concerns that notification requirement applicable to telecoms operators go beyond what can be imposed in view of the maximum harmonisation provided by EU law in this regard. For instance, telecoms operators need to provide evidence that they fulfil Czech tax and healthcare obligations for doing business. This creates red tape, is an obstacle to cross-border services and goes beyond the purpose of identifying the provider as required by the Authorisation Directive.The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may decide to refer the Czech Republic to the EU Court of Justice.

(For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)

 

Transport: Commission asks 4 Member States to correctly apply EU rules on interconnection of national registers of road transport undertakings

The European Commission has asked the Czech Republic, Luxemburg, Poland and Portugal to fully implement EU rules concerning the interconnection of national registers for road transport (Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009). EU legislation is necessary to ensure a uniform application by Member States of the criteria used to authorise access to the occupation of road haulage operator or road transport operator, and in this way favour the completion of an internal market in road transport with fair conditions of competition.

The setup of national registers and its mutual interconnection should have been in place since 31 December 2012. The request was sent in the form of a reasoned opinion to those countries, which have two months to reply to the Commission. If they fail to react satisfactorily, the Commission may refer the matter to the EU's Court of Justice.

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

 

Transport: Commission asks 3 Member States to apply EU rules on child restraint systems

The Commission has asked Finland, Luxembourg and Spain to fully transpose EU rules on the use of safety belts and child restraint systems in vehicles (Directive 91/671/EEC).  The Directive was modified in 2014 to introduce a new standard for child restraint systems which provides improved safety performance (Directive 2014/37/EU). These Member States have not yet adapted their legislation which would allow child restraint systems manufactured according to the new standard to be used in their territory. The request was sent in the form of a reasoned opinion to those countries, which have two months to reply to the Commission. If they fail to react satisfactorily, the Commission may refer the matter to the EU's Court of Justice.(For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50195)

 

Transport: Commission asks the CZECH REPUBLIC to fully transpose EU rules on rail safety

The European Commission has asked the Czech Republic to fully transpose EU rules on railway safety (Directive 2004/49/EC). These rules concern the supervision tasks of the investigating body and its obligation to start an investigation within specific time limits; communication of the final investigation report; addressing of the safety recommendations, their consideration and measures to be taken.

EU rail safety legislation aims at developing a common approach across Member States so that all EU rail networks demonstrate consistently high safety levels and EU citizens travel safely on them. It establishes safety requirements on the rail system, roles and responsibilities of railway undertakings and infrastructure managers, a common safety regulatory framework, common principles for management and supervision of railway safety, and independent investigation of accidents.

EU legislation should have been in place since April 2006. The Commission opened infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic on the matter in July 2014, and a reasoned opinion is now being sent. The Czech Republic has two months to reply to the Commission. If the Czech Republic fails to react satisfactorily, the Commission may refer the matter to the EU's Court of Justice.

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

 

Transport: Commission asks FINLAND to comply with EU rules on cabotage

The European Commission has asked Finland to fully implement EU rules on the access to the international road haulage market (Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009). EU legislation is necessary to ensure a uniform application by Member States of the criteria used to authorise access to their national markets in the context of international transport operations by EU hauliers from other Member States. This is important to favour the completion of an internal market in road transport with fair conditions of competition. EU rules allow hauliers with a Community licence to carry out up to three national carriage (cabotage) operations in another Member State (host) following an international carriage from another Member State or from a third country. No further restrictions are foreseen in EU law. Finnish law imposes a further limitation of cabotage to ten operations in a three-month period. In the Commission's view, this further restriction is not warranted. Additionally, under EU law each cabotage operation may involve several loading and unloading points. However, Finnish law considers that each unloading corresponds to one cabotage operation. In the Commission's view, this further restriction is also not warranted. The request was sent to Finland, in the form of a reasoned opinion. Finland has two months of measures to reply to the Commission. If Finland fails to react satisfactorily, the Commission may refer the matter to the EU's Court of Justice.

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

 

Transport:  Commission asks the UNITED KINGDOM to apply EU rules on driving licences

The European Commission has asked the United Kingdom to fully transpose EU rules on driving licences (Directive 2006/126/EC). These rules ensure that drivers of lorries and buses (categories C1, C1E, CE, D1, D1E, D and DE) are properly checked for the minimum health requirements upon renewal of the licence, and not only rely on self-assessment forms.  These updated rules on driving licences have among others strengthened the requirements to check medical fitness for the drivers of lorries and buses. These new rules will help to reduce the possibility of fraud, guarantee freedom of movement for EU drivers and reinforce safety on European roads. The request was sent in the form of a reasoned opinion and the UK now has two months to reply to the Commission. If they fail to react satisfactorily, the Commission may refer the matter to the EU's Court of Justice.

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

 

3. Other important decisions

 

Financial Services: European Commission opens an infringement procedure against LATVIA on investor restrictions for agricultural land

The European Commission has today decided to request Latvia to submit its observations on its law regulating the acquisition of agricultural land. The law contains several provisions which, under EU law, may be considered to restrict the free movement of capital and freedom of establishment. Restrictions on these basic Treaty freedoms may be allowed under EU-law if their aim is to protect an overriding public interest; however, they must comply with the principles of non-discrimination and proportionality. While Member States are permitted to set their own rules to promote rural development, to preserve rural communities, to keep land in agricultural use and avoid speculative pressure on land prices, this must be in line with EU law.

(For more information: IP/15/4877- Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 225 61 94)


Annex: Overview table of infringment main decisions

MEMO/15/4871

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