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European Commission - Fact Sheet

October infringements package: key decisions

Brussels, 22 October 2015

Overview by policy area


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In its monthly package of infringement decisions, the European Commission is pursuing legal action against Member States for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law. These decisions, covering many sectors and EU policy areas (see Annex 1), aim to ensure proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.

The key decisions taken by the Commission (including 19 reasoned opinions and 10 referrals to the Court of Justice of the European Union) are presented below and grouped by policy area. The Commission is also closing 53 cases where the issues with the Member States concerned have been solved without the Commission needing to pursue the procedure further.

For more information on the EU infringement procedure, see the full MEMO/12/12. For more detail on all decisions taken, consult the infringement decisions' register.


1. Energy

(For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - tel.: +32 229 56186, Nicole Bockstaller – tel.: +32 229 52589)

Reasoned opinions

Commission requests eleven Member States to fully transpose the EU Energy Efficiency Directive

The European Commission has requested eleven Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Spain, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, and Portugal) to ensure the full transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive(2012/27/EU). Under this Directive, Member States must achieve energy savings from 1 January 2014 to 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 buildings and transport. The Directive had to be transposed into national law by 5 June 2014. Today, the Commission sent reasoned opinions to Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Spain, Finland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland. However, the Commission identified transposition gaps in the national legislation in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Portugal, which are addressed in additional reasoned opinions sent today. The additional reasoned opinion to Hungary, issued today, replaces the Commission decision to refer this Member State to the Court of Justice of the EU. The Commission continues to monitor the implementation of the Directive and will address any shortcomings in the future. The eleven Member States have now two months to comply with their obligations, following that the Commission may decide to refer these Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU and ask for financial penalties. For an overview of the transposition of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive by Member State, see Annex II. More information about the Energy Efficiency Directive on the website of DG Energy.

Commission requests FINLAND to fully transpose the Oil Stocks Directive
The European Commission has requested Finland to ensure the full transposition of the EU legislation on oil stocks. The Oil Stocks Directive (2009/119/EC) requires that Member States maintain minimum stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products equivalent to at least 90 days of average daily net imports or 61 days of average daily inland consumption, whichever of the two quantities is greater. The Directive had to be transposed into the national law by the Member States by 31 December 2012. Given the share of oil in the EU's energy mix and the EU's strong external dependence for supply of crude oil and petroleum products, it is vital to maintain the required minimum stocks in order to guarantee consumers' access to petroleum products. Today, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Finland which has only partially transposed the requirements of the Directive. For example, Finland has not transposed requirements related to the physical accessibility of the stocks and to their amount. Infringement procedures were opened against a number of Member States in January 2013 that had failed to comply with their transposition obligations. Other infringement procedures were opened after a systematic transposition check was completed. Most of these procedures have since been closed because the Member States fulfilled their transposition obligations. Finland now has two months to comply with its obligations, following that the Commission may decide to refer the Member State to the Court of Justice of the EU. More information about secure supply of oil on the website of DG Energy.


2. Environment

(For more information: Enrico Brivio – tel.: +32 229 56172, Iris Petsa – tel.: +32 229 93321)

Reasoned opinions

Commission asks the CZECH REPUBLIC to take back a shipment of toxic waste

The Commission is asking the Czech Republic to take back 20 000 tonnes of hazardous waste. The waste, a mixture of acid tar from petroleum refining, coal dust and calcium oxide, was shipped to Katowice, Poland, by a Czech operator in late 2010, and classified as a product under Czech law. Poland, however, refuses to accept the shipment on the grounds that is hazardous waste, and is demanding that it be returned to its place of origin. EU law (Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006) in this area stipulates that if the relevant authorities in different Member States cannot agree on whether a shipment is waste or non-waste, it must be treated as waste, and, therefore, taken back by its country of origin. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice in November 2014, but, as the Czech Republic has still not taken back the waste, the Commission is now sending a reasoned opinion. If the Czech Republic fails to act within two months, the Commission may take the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Commission asks GREECE and HUNGARY to implement regulation that prohibits the placing of illegal timber on EU market

The European Commission is urging Greece and Hungary to comply with EU rules to counter the trade in illegally harvested timber. The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR; Regulation (EU) No 995/2010), which came into force on 3 March 2013, prohibits the placing of illegally harvested timber on the European market, while the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005), applicable since 2005, establishes a licensing scheme to verify the legality of imports of timber into the EU from countries that have partnership agreements under the scheme. The Commission first raised its concerns to Greece in a letter of formal notice sent in May 2015 on the application of both Regulations. The latest reports from Greece show that, although this Member State has taken a number of measures to comply with the two regulations, its authorities have still not adopted national legislation to enable the fulfilment of the obligations contained in both Regulations.  The Commission also raised concerns to Hungary on the application of the EU Timber Regulation in a letter of formal notice sent in May 2015. Although Hungary has reported some progress, a number of measures are still needed to close the compliance gaps. Hungary still has to establish the regulatory and institutional conditions for the system of checks to counter the trade in illegal timber and further legislation is required to determine the level of penalties for breaches of the Regulation. The Commission is thus sending a reasoned opinion to Greece and Hungary, and if the two Member States fail to act within two months, the Commission may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Commission asks the UNITED KINGDOM to revisit key elements of water legislation

The European Commission is asking the United Kingdom to ensure that the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) is correctly enacted in national law. While some enacting legislation has been adopted, the existing framework is only partial, and the interplay with obligations in other legislation impacting on water management is a cause for concern, with potentially negative effects for the UK's citizens. The Commission is asking for more precision in the enactment of some central elements such as environmental objectives and programmes of measures required to attain them. Furthermore, under the existing arrangements, national authorities may lack the necessary powers to tackle negative water impacts, a requirement of EU legislation. The Commission is sending a reasoned opinion spelling out its concerns, giving the UK two months to reply. If the UK fails to act, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.


3. Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

(For more information: Vanessa Mock – tel.: +32 229 56194, Maud Scelo – tel.: +32 229 93321)

Referrals to the Court of Justice of the European Union

Commission refers six Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to transpose EU rules on Bank Recovery and Resolution

The European Commission has decided to refer the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Sweden to the Court of Justice of the European Union (the Court) for failing to implement the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD). This Directive (2014/59/EU) is a centre-piece of the regulatory framework that was put in place to create a safer and sounder financial sector in the wake of the financial crisis. It is also important for the EU's Banking Union. The new BRRD rules equip national authorities with the necessary tools and powers to mitigate and manage the distress or failure of banks or large investment firms in all EU Member States. The objective is to ensure that banks on the verge of insolvency can be restructured without taxpayers having to pay for failing banks to safeguard financial stability. To this end, they provide inter alia for shareholders and creditors of the banks to pay their share of the costs through a "bail-in" mechanism. It is crucially important that such rules are in place in all Member States. The deadline for the transposition of these rules into national law was 31 December 2014 (please refer to the full press release). The Commission sent a reasoned opinion to 11 EU Member States on 28 May 2015 (the full press release), asking them to transpose the BRRD. As full transposition of the new rules did not occur in six EU Member States, they are now being referred to the Court. Referrals to the Court imply the imposition of, at least, a daily penalty payment until full transposition has taken place. The amount of such penalties are calculated in a way that takes into account the payment capacity, the duration and degree of seriousness of the infringement of the Member State concerned. The Commission can decide to withdraw this case in the event that a Member State implements the EU rules in question. For more information, please refer to the full press release.


4. Mobility and Transport

(For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – tel.: +32 229 50595, Alexis Perier - tel.: +32 229 69143)

Referrals to the Court of Justice of the European Union

Commission refers the CZECH REPUBLIC, LUXEMBOURG, and PORTUGAL to the Court of Justice of the EU over the interconnection of electronic transport registers

The European Commission has decided to refer the Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Portugal to the Court of Justice of the European Union for not having established national electronic registers of road transport undertakings and/or for not having connected them with the national electronic registers of the other EU Member States, as required by Article 16(1) and (5) of Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009. The national registers should have been established and connected with each other on 31 December 2012 at the latest. Since the Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Portugal have not yet complied with these obligations, which results in an inefficient functioning of the interconnection of the registers at the Union level, the Commission has decided to refer them to the Court of Justice of the EU. For more information, please refer to the full press release.

Railway safety: Commission refers the CZECH REPUBLIC to the Court of Justice of the EU

The European Commission has decided to refer the Czech Republic to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to correctly transpose and implement Directive 2004/49/EC on safety on the Community's railways. Directive 2004/49/EC requires Member States to establish a safety authority, to establish an independent accident and incident investigation body, and to define common principles for the management, regulation and supervision of railway safety. The Czech Republic has failed to correctly transpose and implement Directive 2004/49/EC in the national legal order. More specifically, the Czech legislation does not guarantee that the investigation body can start its investigation no later than one week after receipt of the report concerning the accident or incident. The Czech legislation does not ensure either that the final investigation reports are properly communicated to the relevant parties and the safety recommendations properly addressed to the safety authority. For more information, please refer to the full press release.

Reasoned opinions

Rail: Commission asks the NETHERLANDS to fully transpose EU rules on rail safety

The Commission has asked the Netherlands to bring all its national rules in line with Directive 2004/49/EC on railway safety. The directive requires Member States to establish a safety authority, to establish an independent accident and incident investigation body, and to define common principles for the management, regulation and supervision of railway safety. The Netherlands failed so far to transpose rules concerning the decision-making principles of the safety authority and the criteria for the investigation body to decide whether or not to undertake an investigation of an accident or incident. The Netherlands also need to address the reporting obligations of the safety authority and investigation body. All these measure are necessary to reach the objective of high safety levels across Member States rail networks. The directive should have been implemented by April 2006. The request has been sent in the form of a reasoned opinion. The Netherlands have two months to notify the Commission of the measures taken to apply the directive correctly; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the Netherlands to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Road transport: Commission asks HUNGARY to implement EU legislation on electronic tolling

The European Commission has asked Hungary to bring its national rules in line with Commission Decision on the definition of the European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) and its technical elements (2009/750/EC). EETS will allow users to drive through the electronic toll systems set up throughout Europe using a single on-board unit and signing a single contract with the EETS provider. In accordance with the EETS legislative framework, by 8 October 2012, the European Electronic Toll Service should have been offered to the users of large vehicles in the Member States which have put in place national systems of electronic toll collection. Hungary failed to put in place the necessary measures for the effective establishment of EETS providers. Hungary has two months to inform the Commission of measures taken to ensure full compliance with EU law; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU.


5. Taxation and Customs Union

(For more information: Vanessa Mock – tel.: +32 229 56194, Patrick Mc Cullough – tel.: +32 229 87183)

A reasoned opinion

Taxation: Commission asks POLAND to stop discriminatory tax treatment of pensions contributions paid to Individual Pension Insurance Accounts (IKZE)

The European Commission has asked Poland to change its national tax rules, which treat contributions to certain private pension accounts opened in Polish financial institutions more favourably than those opened in other Member States. National provisions of Poland stipulate that private pension contributions are only tax deductible when they are paid into Individual Pension Insurance Accounts (IKZE) opened by Polish investment funds, exchange maker houses, insurance establishments, banks and pension funds. Such domestic payments are, therefore, treated more favourably than contributions paid into similar financial products and institutions established in other EU Member States and EEA States. Such a difference in tax treatment may constitute an infringement of the freedom to provide services and the free movement of capital as set out in EU Treaties. 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 Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Annex I

Overview by Member State

Member State/
EU policy

Energy

Environment

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

Mobility and Transport

Taxation and Customs Union

Total

BE

1





1

BG

1





1

CY

1





1

CZ

1

1

1

2


5

EL


1




1

ES

1





1

FI

2





2

HU

1

1


1


3

LT

1





1

LU

1


1

1


3

NL



1

1


2

PL

1


1


1

3

PT

1



1


2

RO



1



1

SE



1



1

UK


1




1

Total

12

4

6

6

1

29 


Annex II

Transposition of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive among the Member States (decision dates of the European Commission)

Member State code

Formal notice (Article 258 TFEU)

Additional formal notice (Article 258 TFEU)

Reasoned opinion (Article 258 TFEU)

Additional reasoned opinion (Article 258 TFEU)

Referral to the Court (Articles 258 and 260(3) TFEU - Decision

AT

-

-

29/04/2015

-

-

BE

22/07/2014

-

22/10/2015

-

-

BG

-

-

26/11/2014

22/10/2015

-

CY

22/07/2014

-

22/10/2015

-

-

CZ

22/07/2014

-

22/10/2015

-

-

DE

-

-

18/06/2015

-

-

DK

-

29/04/2015

-

-

-

EE

-

-

24/09/2015

-

-

EL

-

-

26/02/2015

-

18/06/2015, IP/15/5196

ES

23/07/2014

-

22/10/2015

-

-

FI

22/07/2014

-

22/10/2015

-

-

FR

22/07/2014

-

-

-

-

HR

-

-

29/04/2015

-

-

HU

-

-

 

22/10/2015

26/03/2015, IP/15/4668

IE

-

-

29/04/2015

-

-

IT

26/02/2015

-

-

-

-

LT

22/07/2014

-

22/10/2015

-

-

LU

22/07/2014

-

22/10/2015

-

-

LV

-

-

29/04/2015

-

-

NL

22/07/2014

-

-

-

-

PL

22/07/2014

-

22/10/2015

-

-

PT

-

-

26/02/2015

22/10/2015

-

RO

-

-

29/04/2015

-

-

SE

26/02/2015

-

-

-

-

SI

-

-

26/02/2015; 24/09/2015

-

-

 

MEMO/15/5826

Press contacts:

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


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