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European Commission - Fact Sheet

September infringements' package: key decisions

Brussels, 29 September 2016

Overview by policy area

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 various sectors and EU policy areas (see Annex I and II), aim to ensure proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.

The key decisions taken by the Commission (including 9 letters of formal notice, 54 reasoned opinions, and 5 referrals to the Court of Justice of the European Union) are presented below and grouped by policy area. The Commission is also closing 122 cases in which 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. Budget and Human Resources

(For more information: Alexander Winterstein - tel.: +32 229 93265, Andreana Stankova – tel.: +32 229 57857)

Referrals to the Court of Justice of the European Union

Budget: three Member States referred to Court for loss of customs duties due as EU budget revenue

The European Commission has decided to take Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to pay a total of €23.3 million customs duties into the EU budget. If a Member State does not make its full contribution to the EU budget, the other Member States must compensate for the shortfall. In 2008, Italy notified the Commission that it could not collect and pay to the EU budget €2.1 million customs duties on tobacco products, dating back from 1997. In the case of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the loss of traditional own resources to the EU budget comes from wrongly issued 'EUR.1' certificates by their overseas countries and territories (‘OCT’). In the case of the United Kingdom, aluminium was imported from third countries to its OTC Anguilla and then re-exported to the EU. The import benefited from exemption of EU custom duties, but this is considered as loss of revenue to the EU budget of €2.7 million. Following a reasoned opinion sent to the UK authorities in October 2014, the Commission is now taking the next step in the infringement procedure. The case of the Netherlands is about two cases of import - of milk powder and rice from Curacao in 1997-2000 and of groats and rice products from Aruba in 2002-2003. In both cases the goods were imported to Europe with 'EUR.1' certificates, issued by the local authorities in the Dutch overseas territories in breach of the OCT Decision, which regulated the association of the OCT within the EU. The amount due to the EU budget is €18.2 million for the import from Curaçao and €0.3 million for Aruba. The infringement procedure started in 2013 and the reasoned opinion was sent to the Dutch authorities in October 2014.


2. Digital Single Market

(For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt - tel.: +32 229 67083, Marie Frenay – tel.: +32 229 64532)

Reasoned opinions

Digital Single Market: Commission urges 19 Member States to implement cost reduction rules that will help deploy more broadband

The European Commission has asked Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom to implement measures of cost reduction in deploying high-speed electronic communications networks  (Directive 2014/61/EU; see a related press release here). These rules seek to increase the sharing and re-use of existing physical infrastructure across various sectors (energy, transport, etc.) and should cut by up to 30% the cost of rolling out high-speed internet. In March 2016, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to all Member States which had failed to transpose the measures into national legislation so far, and several of them then notified the Commission that they had fully implemented the Directive. Cost reduction rules support the strategic connectivity objectives that the European Commission has recently proposed (see related press release here): by 2025, all main socio-economic drivers, such as schools, universities, research centres, transport hubs, all providers of public services such as hospitals and administrations, and enterprises relying on digital technologies, should have access to extremely high - gigabit - connectivity (allowing users to download/upload 1 gigabit of data per second); all European households, rural or urban, should have access to connectivity offering a download speed of at least 100 Mbps, which can be upgraded to Gbps, and all urban areas as well as major roads and railways should have uninterrupted 5G coverage, the fifth generation of wireless communication systems. As an interim target, 5G should be commercially available in at least one major city in each EU Member State by 2020. Member States had until 1 January 2016 to transpose the Directive into national legislation. The Commission is sending to the remaining 19 Member States a final warning today. These countries now have two months to notify the Commission of measures taken to bring national legislation into line with EU law; otherwise, the Commission may decide, in accordance with EU infringement rules, to refer them to the Court of Justice of the EU and to propose financial sanctions.


3. Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility

(For more information: Christian Wigand - tel.: +32 229 62253, Sara Soumillion - tel.: +32 229 67094)

A reasoned opinion

Health and safety: Commission urges GERMANY to notify transposition of Packaging and Labelling Directive

The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to Germany over the failure to notify the transposition of the Directive on classification, labelling and packaging (CLP) of substances and mixtures (Directive 2014/27/EU) into its national legislation, more than one year after its deadline. The CLP Directive has replaced several internal market directives on the classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances, aligning them with the CLP Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008). The CLP Regulation is an EU regulation which entered into force on 20 January 2009 and aligns the Union system of classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures to the United Nations Globally Harmonised System (GHS). Member States' laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the CLP Directive had to enter into force by 1 June 2015 and the Commission had to be informed immediately. Given that the German authorities have not yet notified the Commission of the adoption of the necessary measures, the Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to Germany on the basis of the procedure set out in Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). If the German authorities fail to act within two months, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.


4. Energy

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

Reasoned opinions

Internal Energy Market: Commission urges SPAIN to fully comply with the Third Energy Package

Today, the European Commission formally requested Spain to ensure the correct implementation and application of the Electricity Directive (Directive 2009/72/EC) and the Gas Directive (Directive2009/73/EC). The Directives are part of the Third Energy Package and contain key provisions to allow energy markets to function properly, including rules on the unbundling of the transmission from energy suppliers and producers, on strengthening the independence and the powers of national regulators and on provisions benefitting consumers. The Commission found that the current Spanish legislation preventsundertakings other than the national incumbent system operators for electricity and gas from building and operating interconnectors to other Member States. Spain has also incorrectly transposed several rules concerning the independence of the national regulatory authority. A letter of formal notice was sent to Spain in February 2015. Since compliance with EU law is not yet in place, the Commission is now sending a reasoned opinion. The Member State has two months to inform the Commission of the measures taken to remedy the situation, following which the European Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.More information about the EU Internal Market legislation is available on the website of DG Energy.

Energy Efficiency: Commission requests ESTONIA and POLAND to fully transpose the EU Energy Efficiency Directive

The European Commission has requested Estonia and Poland to ensure the full transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive (Directive 2012/27/EU). Under this Directive, Member States must achieve certain 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, buildings, industry and transport sectors. The Directive had to be transposed into national law by 5 June 2014. Today, the Commission sent additional reasoned opinions to Estonia and Poland, as the Commission identified gaps in the national legislation which transposes the Directive. The Commission continues to monitor the transposition and implementation of the Directive and will address any shortcomings in the future. Estonia and Poland now have two months to comply with their obligations, after which the Commission may decide to refer these Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU. For an overview of the transposition of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive by Member State, see Annex III.


5. Environment

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

Referrals to the Court of Justice of the European Union

Commission refers the UNITED KINGDOM to the Court over its failure to protect marine species

The European Commission is taking the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the EU for its failure to propose sites for the protection of the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), a marine mammal regularly found in UK waters. EU legislation on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the Habitats Directive, Council Directive 92/43/EEC) requires Member States to propose a list of sites for a number of species and habitat types, ensuring their protection from threats which could seriously harm them and to maintain and restore them in a favourable status in the whole of the EU by taking the conservation measures needed. Due to the unfavourable status of the harbour porpoises in the EU, 13 Member States, other than the UK, have designated sites for its protectionin about 200 Natura 2000 sites. The UK has so far formally proposed only one small site in Northern Ireland (the Skerries and Causeway Special Area of Conservation) and one site in Scotland (the Inner Hebrides and Minches Special Area of Conservation). As the UK has an extensive marine area, it has a particular responsibility for the protection of this species. The Commission has repeatedly urged the British authorities to fulfil their key obligations for the conservation of the species, as other Member States have done already. Today's action follows a letter of formal notice sent to the UK government in June 2013 and a reasoned opinion sent in October 2014. While the UK has recently conducted a public consultation on a number of potential sites in English and Welsh waters and this month formally proposed one site in Scottish waters, more needs to be done. The continued failure to propose and designate sufficient sites leaves the areas where the species occurs in greatest densities without the protection required. This refers in particular to the requirement to carry out adequate assessments of potentially damaging developments or activities, such as from offshore wind farm construction, oil and gas exploration and fishing. For more information, please refer to the fullpress release.


Reasoned opinions

Nature directives: Commission calls on GREECE to tackle the illegal poisoning of birds

The European Commission is requesting Greece to establish a general system of protection for wild birds, prohibiting, in particular, their deliberate killing through poison baits. The use of poison baits is widespread in Greece, and no serious action has been taken so far, contrary to what is required under the Birds (Directive 2009/147/EC) and Habitats (Council Directive 92/43/EEC) Directives. In the Natura 2000 site of Nestos river, for example, the use of this illegal practice in 2012 led to the destruction of an entire vulture species colony, but the Greek authorities have so far done little to prevent such incidents from happening again. The Commission opened an infringement procedure against Greece in September 2013, urging the Greek authorities to better control this phenomenon in the entire country and to adopt the necessary measures to restore the damages that have occurred in Nestos in 2012. As the measures to ensure full compliance with EU law have not yet been taken, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion. If the Greek authorities fail to act within two months, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Waste water: Commission urges IRELAND to improve the collection and treatment of waste water

The European Commission is calling on Ireland to ensure that urban waste water is adequately treated in 38 agglomerations around the country. Under EU law (Council Directive 91/271/EEC), towns and cities are required to collect and treat their urban waste water, as untreated waste water can put human health at risk and pollute lakes, rivers, soil and coastal and groundwater. Member States had until the end of 1998 to ensure stringent treatment for waste water from agglomerations discharging into sensitive areas. They had until the end of 2000 to ensure appropriate collecting systems and treatment were in place for discharges from treatment plants serving large agglomerations discharging into undesignated waters. The last deadline elapsed at the end of 2005 and required the setting up of collecting systems and treatment for discharges from medium-sized and small agglomerations discharging into freshwater and estuaries agglomerations. The 38 agglomerations in breach of these requirements are: Arklow, Athlone, Ballybofey/Stranorlar, Ballincollig New, Carringtwohill, Castlecomer, Cavan, Clifden, Clonakilty, Cobh, Cork City, Dundalk, Enfield, Enniscorthy, Fermoy, Gaoth Dobhair, Killarney, Killybegs, Longford, Mallow, Midleton, Monksland, Navan, Nenagh, Oberstown, Passage/Monktown, Portarlington, Rathcormac, Ringaskiddy, Ringsend, Roscommon Town, Roscrea, Shannon Town, Thurles, Tralee, Tubbercurry, Youghal and Waterford City. Today's reasoned opinion follows an additional letter of formal notice sent to the Irish authorities in September 2015. If Ireland fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Water: Commission requests BULGARIA and SLOVAKIA to tackle water pollution caused by nitrates

The European Commission is calling on Bulgaria and Slovakia to comply with EU water legislation against nitrate pollution (Council Directive 91/676/EEC). Nitrates are essential for plants to grow and they are widely used as fertilisers. However, excess levels cause severe water pollution, with consequences for people's health, the economy and the environment. In March 2013, the Commission launched an infringement procedure against the Bulgarian authorities after identifying a number of shortcomings in the country's Nitrates Action Programme, as required under the EU rules on nitrates. Although Bulgaria has now addressed a number of issues following the modification of the Nitrates Action Programme in June 2016, the country still fails to comply with key provisions, such as the land application of fertilisers and the usage limit of 170 kg N/ha/year for livestock manure. In November 2012, the Commission opened an infringement against Slovakia after identifying a number of shortcomings in the country's enactment and implementation of the EU rules on nitrates. Although Slovakia has now resolved most of the issues following the adoption of the Fertilisers Act, the country has still to designate the sufficient number of nitrate vulnerable zones and ensure that the Nitrates Action Programme complies with EU law. Bulgaria and Slovakia have two months to inform the Commission of the measures taken to address the shortcomings; otherwise, these cases may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.


6. Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

(For more information: Vanessa Mock – tel.: +32 229 56194, Letizia Lupini - tel.: +32 229 51958)

Reasoned opinions

Single Market: Commission sends reasoned opinion to AUSTRIA, THE NETHERLANDS, ROMANIA, SLOVAKIA and SWEDEN regarding their intra-EU bilateral investment treaties

The European Commission has today sent a formal request to Austria, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden to terminate their intra-EU bilateral investment treaties ("BITs"). BITs are agreements establishing the terms and conditions for private investment by nationals and companies of one state in another. Many of these intra-EU BITs were agreed in the 1990s. They were mainly struck between existing members of the EU and those who would become the "EU 12", the Member States joining in 2004 and 2007. They were aimed at reassuring investors at a time when private investors - sometimes for historical and political reasons – might have been wary of investing in those countries. Since the enlargement, such 'extra' reassurances should not be necessary, because EU rules in the single market, such as the freedom of establishment and the free movement of capital, already provide a legal framework for cross-border investments. All Member States are subject to the same EU rules, which equally provide protection for EU investors.


7. Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

(For more information: Lucia Caudet – tel.: +32 229 56182, Maria Sarantopoulou – tel.: +32 229 13740)

Reasoned opinions

Services: Commission urges CROATIA to remove discriminatory restrictions on fishing licences

The European Commission is formally requesting Croatia to stop discriminatory practices in the area of annual sport and recreational fishing licenses. Annual fishing licences are limited to Croatian residents, while non-residents from other EU countries can only obtain maximum 30-day licences. A visitor wanting to fish all year round would need to buy twelve 30-day licences, costing 16 times as much as a Croatian resident would pay for an annual licence. The Commission considers that this practice is discriminatory and does not comply with the Services Directive (Directive 2006/123/EC), the freedom to provide services and the non-discrimination principle enshrined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (Articles 56 and 18 of TFEU). Croatia did not provide evidence that non-residents exploit Croatian resources through their fishing activities more than residents or that they create a higher risk for the conservation of stocks. Thereafter, there is no justification why such measures should be taken only to the detriment of non-residents. The Commission's request to the Croatian authorities takes the form of a reasoned opinion. Croatia now has two months to notify the Commission of measures taken to remedy the situation; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer Croatia to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Public procurement: Commission calls on SLOVAKIA to adhere to EU rules

The European Commission is urging Slovakia to properly implement the provisions of the Remedies Directive by finalising the re-evaluation of tenders. The EU public procurement procedure for a railway reconstruction contract, worth over €250 million, was launched in 2009 but the evaluation of tenders has still not been finalised. EU public procurement rules seek to ensure that public procurement is transparent, efficient, and gives all economic operators a fair chance to participate in a call for tender to win a contract. This presupposes that the submitted tenders are evaluated within a reasonable timeframe and eventual decisions are effectively implemented by contracting entities. By failing to finalise the evaluation of the tenders, Slovakia has infringed Article 10 of the Utilities Public Procurement Directive (Directive 2004/17/EC) on equal treatment and non-discrimination of tenderers. After a letter of formal notice, sent to Slovak authorities in October 2014, the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic cancelled all award decisions for this contract and ordered the re-evaluation of the tenders. However, almost two years after this decision, the Slovak authorities have still not finalised the evaluation. By failing to implement and enforce the Supreme Court's decision, the Slovak authorities have infringed Article 2(8) of the Remedies Directive (Council Directive 92/13/EEC) on effective implementation of the evaluation bodies' decisions. The Slovak authorities now have two months to notify the Commission of measures taken to remedy the situation; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer Slovakia to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Free movement of professionals: Commission urges Member States to transpose EU rules on recognition of professional qualifications

The European Commission requested today in reasoned opinions 14 Member States to transpose Directive 2013/55/EU on the recognition of professional qualifications. The Directive provides a modern EU system for the recognition of professional qualifications, simplifies existing rules and accelerates recognition procedures while ensuring that qualified professionals wishing to work in another Member State respect the requirements of the host country. The Directive should have been transposed into national legislation by 18 January 2016. However, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom have not yet communicated to the Commission the complete transposition of the Directive into their national law. The Member States now have two months to notify the Commission of the full transposition of the Directive; otherwise, the European Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice of the EU.


8. Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship

(For more information: Tove Ernst – tel.: +32 229 86764, Markus Lammert - tel.: +32 229 80423)

Letters of formal notice

Information Exchange for Security: Commission urges Member States to improve information sharing to combat terrorism and serious crime

The Prüm Decisions (Council Decisions 2008/615/JHA and 2008/616/JHA) introduced procedures for fast and efficient data exchanges between Member States in specific areas. The Prüm framework lays down rules to allow Member States to search each other's DNA analysis files, fingerprint identification systems and vehicle registration data bases. The Prüm Decisions should have been implemented fully by Member States by August 2011. The European Commission decided today to address letters of formal notice to Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Portugal for failing to comply with the Prüm Decisions. These Member States have not yet ensured automated data exchanges in at least two of the three data categories of DNA, fingerprints and national vehicle registration data. These are the first infringement procedures initiated for a so-called 'former third pillar instrument' in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The Commission acquired full enforcement powers in this field on 1 December 2014, five years after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. The concerned Member States now have two months to reply, after which the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion. The implementation of the Prüm Decisions is an important element of the 2015 European Agenda on Security.


The European Commission actively pursues the correct the implementation of European rules on explosives precursors

Regulation (EU) No 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors became applicable in all 28 EU Member States in September 2014. It sets out a common EU-framework to prevent the misuse of certain chemical substances that can be used as explosive precursors. Most Member States have fully implemented the Regulation, but in certain Member States, not all provisions are fully implemented. That is why the Commission has launched infringement procedures with a letter of formal notice today against Cyprus, France, Luxembourg and Spain. Under the Regulation, Member States are required, inter alia, to set up national contact points for the reporting of suspicious transactions and significant disappearances and thefts of the regulated substances. Member States are also required to disseminate guidelines and apply penalties. If Member States choose to not maintain a complete ban of substances, they must notify the Commission of exceptions under a licensing or registration regime. The concerned Member States now have two months to submit their observations. The correct implementation of the regulation on explosive precursors is an important element of both the European Agenda on Security and the Commission's Communication on the way forward towards a genuine Security Union.

A reasoned opinion

Irregular migration: Commission urges Spain to ensure full transposition of EU Return Directive

The European Commission is requesting that Spain step up the implementation of the Return Directive (Directive 2008/115/EC) in certain specific areas by ensuring full transposition of all the provisions of the legislation into national law. Provisions not correctly transposed by Spain include the definition of return in national law, the obligation to issue return decisions to irregularly staying third country nationals and a clear definition of the role of the Ombudsman in his function as a monitoring body in accordance with the Return Directive. The Commission requests that Spain brings its legislation into line with the EU Return Directive and is now sending a reasoned opinion to this effect. If Spain fails to remedy the situation within two months, the Commission may decide to refer Spain to the Court of Justice of the EU.


9. Mobility and Transport

(For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – tel.: +32 229 56186, Alexis Perier - tel.: +32 229 69143)

A referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union

Road transport: Commission refers Germany to Court over discriminatory road charging

The European Commission has decided to refer Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU regarding the plan of the German authorities to introduce a road charging scheme for private vehicles (PKW-Maut) which is, according to the Commission, discriminatory. The German legislation grants vehicles registered in Germany the benefit of a 1:1 deduction of the road charge from their annual vehicle tax bill. This would lead to a 'de facto' exemption from the charge exclusively for the cars registered in Germany. Moreover, prices for short-term vignettes (for periods of less than a year), which are intended for use by vehicles registered abroad only, are disproportionality high in some cases. While the Commission supports fair and efficient pricing in transport – as it reiterated in the recent European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility, the Commission considers that the German system fails to comply with the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) principles of non-discrimination based on nationality and the free movement of goods and services. The German legislation is not in line with those principles. Despite numerous exchanges with the German authorities since November 2014, the Commission's fundamental concerns have not been addressed. The Commission is therefore referring Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU. For more information, please refer to the fullpress release.


Reasoned opinions

Seafarers: Commission requests FRANCE to complete transposition of Directive on the minimum level of training of seafarers

The Commission has requested France to complete the transposition of Directive 2012/35/EU on the minimum level of training of seafarers into its national legislation. The education and training of seafarers is an important issue for the EU, in order to maintain and develop the level of knowledge and skills in the maritime sector in the EU as well as in the interest of maritime safety. Therefore, EU rules on the training and certification of seafarers are to be kept in line with international rules. The Directive, therefore, incorporated into EU law the amendments made in 2010 to the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (so-called "STCW Convention"). Among others, the amendments to the STCW Convention update several standards of competence. For example, officers are now required to be able to use electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS) to maintain the safety of navigation. The amendments also introduce additional medical fitness requirements including alcohol level limits for the prevention of alcohol abuse. Member States had to transpose this Directive by 4 July 2014. To date, France, however, has failed to do so. The French authorities now have two months to take the necessary measures to remedy the situation; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Rail transport: Commission requests LITHUANIA to transpose EU legislation on rail interoperability

The Commission has called on Lithuania to bring its national rules into line with Commission Directive 2014/106/EC on the interoperability of railways - the ability of a rail system to allow the safe and uninterrupted movement of trains which accomplish the required levels of performance for these lines. This ability depends on all the regulatory, technical and operational conditions which must be met in order to satisfy the essential requirements. Member States had to comply with the Directive by 1 January 2016. However, Lithuania has so far not modified the harmonised procedure to verify the compliance with technical requirements ensuring parts of the rail system are safe and interoperable. The Commission, therefore, has decided to send Lithuania a reasoned opinion. The Lithuanian authorities have two months to reply to the Commission. If they fail to react satisfactorily, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Maritime transport: Commission calls on PORTUGAL to fully transpose EU legislation on flag state requirements

The European Commission has requested Portugal to comply with its obligations of administrative oversight as foreseen by the EU rules on flag state requirements (Directive 2009/21/EC). These include checking that the ship structure, equipment and operational management comply with safety regulations and that the seafarers are certified as competent. This Directive establishes a legal framework to improve the performance of Member States as flag states. As per this Directive, a quality management system should have been in place by June 2012 but to date Portugal has failed to implement it. In particular, a lack of manpower and resources in the administration may in the long-run have a negative impact on safety, security and the environmental performance of the Portuguese flagged fleet. This is all the more significant given the recent growth in Portugal's second ship register in Madeira. The Commission has, therefore, decided to send a reasoned opinion to Portugal giving it two months to comply with the Directive; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU. The flag state of a vessel is the state under whose laws the vessel is registered or licensed.


10. 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 requests POLAND to implement rules on strengthened mutual assistance and exchange of information 

The European Commission has today requested Poland to fully transpose Council Directive 2014/107/EU on mutual assistance in the area of income and capital taxation. This Directive, which amends Directive 2011/16/EU on mandatory automatic exchange of information between national tax authorities, aims at strengthening administrative cooperation between Member States to better combat tax evasion and tax fraud. Member States were required to transpose these rules by 1 January 2016. Poland has not yet informed the Commission of all the necessary measures to fully transpose the Directive into national law. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU.


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