In its monthly package of infringement decisions, the European Commission ('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, aim to ensure the proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.
The key decisions taken by the Commission are presented below and grouped by policy area. The Commission is also closing 161 cases in which the issues with the Member States concerned have been solved without the Commission needing to pursue the procedure further.
1. Budget and Human Resources
(For more information: Alexander Winterstein - tel.: +32 229 93265)
A letter of formal notice
EU budget: Commission urges UNITED KINGDOM to make customs duties available to the EU budget
Today, the European Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to the United Kingdom because it refuses to make customs duties available to the EU budget, as required by EU law. A 2017 OLAF report found that importers in the United Kingdom evaded a large amount of customs duties by using fictitious and false invoices and incorrect customs value declarations at importation. Further Commission inspections brought to light a dramatic increase of the scale of that undervaluation fraud scheme operating through the hub in the United Kingdom between 2011 and 2017. Despite having been informed of the risks of fraud relating to the importation of textiles and footwear originating in the People's Republic of China since 2007, and despite having been asked to take appropriate risk control measures, the United Kingdom failed to take action to prevent the fraud. The Commission calculates that the infringement of EU legislation by the United Kingdom resulted in losses to the EU budget amounting to EUR 2,7 billion (minus collection costs) during the period November 2011 until December 2017. In addition, the United Kingdom also infringed EU Value Added Tax legislation, leading to potential losses to the EU budget. The United Kingdom is liable for the financial consequences of its infringements of EU legislation.
2. Climate Action
(For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - tel.: +32 229 56186, Nicole Bockstaller – tel.: +32 229 52589)
Fuel quality: Commission urges 10 Member States to transpose the rules to calculate and report the greenhouse gas emissions of fuels
Today, the European Commission decided to issue a reasoned opinion to Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom for failing to transpose EU rules on quality of petrol and diesel fuels (Council Directive (EU) 2015/652) into their national law. The Directive lays down rules to calculate and report the greenhouse gas emissions of fuels and other energy from non-biological sources. The EU regulation aims to yield reporting of sufficient accuracy, so that the Commission can assess the performance of fuel suppliers in meeting their obligations under the Fuel Quality Directive (Directive 98/70/EC). The Fuel Quality Directive aims to achieve at least a 6% reduction of the greenhouse gas intensity of the fuel and energy supplied by the end of 2020. The calculation method has also the advantage of reducing the administrative burden on both suppliers and Member States. Member States had to implement EU rules on the calculation and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions of fuels into their national legislation by 21 April 2017. The Commission had already sent a letter of formal notice to these Member States in May 2017. If the concerned Member States fail to act within two months from the receipt of the reasoned opinion, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.
(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso - tel.: +32 229 80100, Maria Sarantopoulou – tel.: +32 229 13740)
Antitrust: Commission closes infringement procedures for 18 Member States that transposed the Directive on antitrust damages actions into national law
The European Commission has decided to close the infringement proceedings against Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom as they have now transposed the Directive on antitrust damages actions (Directive 2014/104/EU) into national law. This Directive helps citizens and companies claim damages if they are victims of infringements of EU antitrust rules, such as cartels or abuses of dominant market positions. It also gives victims easier access to evidence they need to prove the damage suffered and more time to make their claims. The Directive on antitrust damages actions is therefore an essential part of EU competition law enforcement. Member States were under an obligation to transpose it into national law by 27 December 2016. Seven Member States transposed it by the deadline. Following the opening of infringement proceedings, 18 Member States transposed the Directive in 2017. Bulgaria notified the transposition in early 2018 and the assessment of the completeness of the transposition measures is ongoing. In 2018, the Commission will proceed to the conformity check of the national transpositions and invite the two remaining Member States (Greece and Portugal) to take the necessary steps to ensure the Directive is fully implemented.
(For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - tel.: +32 229 56186, Nicole Bockstaller – tel.: +32 229 52589)
A reasoned opinion
Energy efficiency: Commission requests SPAIN to correctly transpose the EU legislation
Today, the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Spain formally requesting the correct transposition into national law of the requirements for individual metering in multi-apartment buildings laid down in the Energy Efficiency Directive (Directive 2012/27/EU). The Directive requires the installation of heat and hot water meters for multi-apartment buildings - where technically feasible and cost efficient - for all existing buildings, while the national transposition measures impose this requirement only with regard to new buildings (built after 2007). A letter of formal notice had been sent to Spain in October 2017 and the Commission has now proceeded to the next step in the infringement procedure. Spain has two months to comply with the reasoned opinion; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the Member State to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Letters of formal notice
Energy efficiency: Commission urges GREECE to correctly transpose the EU rules
The Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to Greece formally requesting the adoption and notification of their updated long-term renovation strategy in commercial and residential buildings, as required by the Energy Efficiency Directive (Directive 2012/27/EU). The deadline set by the Directive for notification of the updated buildings renovation strategy was 30 April 2017. The Energy Efficiency Directive sets out energy savings requirements for EU countries' buildings. This includes making central government buildings more energy efficient and requiring national plans to be established for renovating overall building stock. The long-term renovation strategies show how the Member States plan to foster investment in the renovation of residential and commercial buildings. Greece now has two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
Gas supply: Commission calls on POLAND to correctly transpose the EU rules
Today, the Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to Poland for failing to comply with EU requirements on the Security of Gas Supply Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2017/1938). The Polish legislation imposes a gas storage obligation on undertakings importing gas to Poland. The conditions to fulfil the obligation by storing gas abroad in practice make such storage less attractive and more cumbersome than storing in Poland. While certain security of supply obligations are possible under the Security of Gas Supply Regulation, they are subject to compliance with a number of conditions, such as not unduly distorting competition or hampering the functioning of the internal market. The Commission is of the view that the Polish gas storage obligation is incompatible with the EU measures to safeguard the security of gas supply. The Regulation lays down requirements to be respected by all Member States in order to prevent potential supply disruptions in the EU and respond to them if they take place. Poland now has two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
(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
Industrial waste: Commission refers CROATIA to Court over its failure to protect citizens from industrial waste in Biljane Donje landfill
The European Commission decided today to refer Croatia to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to ensure an adequate level of protection of human health and the environment at "Crno brdo" site in Biljane Donje, near the town of Benkovac, less than 50 metres from houses. The waste should have been managed in accordance with the EU rules on waste (EU Waste Framework Directive, Directive 2008/98/EC) by the end of 2015 at the latest. Even though Croatia committed to address this situation on several occasions, there has been no progress on the ground. For almost four years, the industrial waste deposited at "Crno brdo" illegal landfill has not been cleared and properly managed, threatening to contaminate groundwater and air. The location is currently used as a depository of a large amount of production residue of processing of ferromanganese and silicomanganese. As the Croatian authorities failed to classify that material as waste in line with Directive, approximately 140,000 tons of this potentially harmful stone aggregate are deposited directly on soil, threatening local inhabitants and the environment. Under EU law, Croatia should have put in place measures for the protection of groundwater and the prevention of the dispersion of the harmful particles through the air. The European Commission opened the infringement proceedings against Croatia in March 2015, followed by a reasoned opinion sent in November 2016. Since there has been no progress in ensuring proper waste management in Biljane Donje that the waste does not endanger human health and harm the environment, the Commission decided today to refer Croatia to the Court of Justice of the EU. For more information, please refer to the full press release.
Commission refers FINLAND to Court over spring hunting of wild birds
The European Commission has decided to refer Finland to the Court of Justice of the EU for illegal spring hunting of male eiders in the province of Åland. Under the Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147/EC), 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, or provided that the conditions for an exception from the hunting ban are fulfilled. The competent authorities continue to allow the practice of spring hunting of male eiders in Åland Province. The Birds Directiveprohibits any hunting of migratory birds during the rearing season or during the various stages of reproduction.Exceptions to this rule are possible provided that certain conditions are fulfilled. However, the conditions for exceptions are not fulfilled in Finland. The eider population is not at a satisfactory level. According to the most recent population assessments, the species is in decline both in the EU and Finland. Moreover, the hunting quota exceeds the allowable amount of 1% of annual mortality of eiders in Åland Province. In December 2005, the Court had already ruled in its judgement (C-344/03) that Finland had failed to fulfil its obligations under the Birds Directive due to spring hunting of male eiders, among other species in Åland province. The condemned practices ceased but were resumed in Åland Province in 2011 which is why the Commission opened the infringement proceedings on this matter in November 2012. In December 2016, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion, urging Finland to stop the spring hunting of eider males in Åland Province. However, the competent authorities in the Åland Province decided to open a new spring hunting season for male eiders in April 2017. For more information, please refer to the full press release.
Commission refers Spain to Court for not reviewing and updating its River Basin Management Plans in the Canary Islands
The European Commission decided to refer Spain to the Court of Justice of the EU for not reviewing and updating the River Basin Management Plans for the seven river basin districts in the Canary Islands (El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Gomera, La Palma, Lanzarote, and Tenerife). River basin management plans are the foundation of Water Framework Directive(Directive 2000/60/EC). These Plans give a comprehensive overview of the main issues for each river basin district and should include the specific measures needed to achieve environmental quality objectives. Spain had to review and update all River Basin Management Plans on its territory by 22 December 2015 and to inform the Commission of these measures by 22 March 2016. The Spanish authorities have also failed to ensure compliance with the public information and consultation obligations for establishing these plans. The Commission has repeatedly urged Spain to fulfil its obligations: firstly, by sending a letter of formal notice in April 2017 and secondly, by issuing a reasoned opinion - in October 2017. For more information, please refer to the full press release.
Habitats Directive: Commission calls on GREECE to fully respect nature rules
The European Commission urges Greece to respect obligations under the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC) for the protection of natural habitats and species included in the Natura 2000 network. Member States have to designate the EU-listed Sites of Community importance (SCIs) as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). They also have to establish conservation priorities and objectives as well as the necessary conservation measures to maintain or restore the species and habitats present to a favourable condition. These steps need to be carried out within six years after the inclusion of these sites in the EU list as SCIs.While Greece has formally designated all its 239 sites as SACs, it has nether established conservation priorities and objectives nor the necessary conservation measures for these sites. As part of a horizontal enforcement action against several Member States, the Commission is sending an additional reasoned opinion to Greece. It now has two months to reply. Failing that, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Environmental impact: Commission urges FINLAND, LUXEMBOURG and ROMANIA to fully enact new EU rules into national legislation
The Commission calls on Finland, Luxembourg and Romania to adapt their national laws to take into account modifications of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (Directive 2014/52/EU). The aim of this Directive is to ensure that an adequate impact assessment for projects is done before they are approved. The European Commission opened the infringement proceedings against the 3 Member States in July 2017. The missing provisions have not yet been fully incorporated into the Luxembourgish law because the existing legislation on impact assessment is currently being revised. Regarding Finland, although the mainland has transposed the Directive, Åland Island still needs to introduce the necessary modifications in its legislation. In Romania, the legislation is currently being drafted in order to fully transpose the Directive. Since Finland, Luxembourg and Romania have not yet fully enacted the EU rules into their national laws, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion. If the concerned Member States fail to act within two months from the receipt of the reasoned opinion, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.
A reasoned opinion and a letter of formal notice
Commission urges IRELAND and SPAIN to act on protection against flooding
The Commission is calling on Ireland and Spain to comply with the requirements of the Floods Directive (Directive 2007/60/EC). The Directive aims to reduce and manage the risks that floods pose to human health, the environment and economic activity. Under EU law, Member States had to complete and publish flood risk management plans, and notify them to the Commission by 22 March 2016. In April 2017, the Commission opened the infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to the Irish authorities due to their failure to complete, publish and communicate flood risk management plans for seven river basin districts. As Ireland has still not notified these plans, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion. Ireland has two months to reply. In addition, the Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice to Spain as the Spanish authorities have failed to inform the Commission of the flood risk management plans for the river basin districts of Catalonia and the Canary Islands. Spain also has two months to reply.
Letters of formal notice
Waste: Commission calls on POLAND to correctly enact waste rules
The European Commission has decided to send a letter of formal notice to Poland over its failure to transpose correctly a number of provisions of the Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC). EU law include the reuse and recycling targets for construction and demolition waste, and requirements on hazardous waste and the content of the waste management plans. The proper application of EU waste legislation is essential for the transition to a circular economy. Poland has now two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
6. Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union
(For more information: Vanessa Mock – tel.: +32 229 56194, Letizia Lupini - tel.: +32 229 51958)
Financial services: Commission closes 6 cases as Member States notify the Commission rules on mortgage credit
The Commission welcomes the transposition of the Mortgage Credit Directive (Directive 2014/17/EU) by Croatia,the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, and Luxembourg. The Directive is of benefit to consumers and aims to create an EU-wide mortgage credit market with a high level of consumer protection. The main provisions include - conduct rules for providers, including an obligation to assess consumer creditworthiness and disclose information, competence and knowledge requirements for staff, provisions regarding certain aspects of mortgage credit, such as early repayment, foreign currency loans, tying practices, financial education, property valuation and arrears and foreclosures. The Commission decided today to close the infringement proceedings, which were initiated for these Member States in May 2016.
7. Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
(For more information: Lucia Caudet – tel.: +32 229 56182, Maud Noyon – tel.: +32 229 80379)
A reasoned opinion
Free movement of goods: Commission urges HUNGARY to stop restricting retail profit margins of agricultural and food products
The Commission decided today to send a reasoned opinion to Hungary on the grounds that the national rules on retail sale of agricultural and food products are incompatible with EU law. Under Hungarian law, retailers are obliged to apply the same profit margins to domestic and imported agricultural and food products. This may discourage sales of imported agricultural and food products in comparison to domestic ones, as it may make it more difficult for importers and retailers to offer imported products, which are usually less well known to the domestic consumer, at more attractive prices. In February 2017, the Commission opened the infringement proceedings by sending a letter of formal notice. The Commission raised concerns that these rules go against the principle of the free movement of goods (Article 34 of Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, TFEU) and undermine the free formation of selling prices of agricultural products on the basis of fair competition (EU Regulation No 1308/2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products). Since the Hungarian authorities maintain their position, the Commission has now decided to send a reasoned opinion. If Hungary fails to act within two months from the receipt of the reasoned opinion, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.
A letter of formal notice
Pressure equipment: Commission calls on the Netherlands to comply with EU rules
Today, the Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to the Netherlands requesting the correct transposition of the Directive on pressure equipment (Directive 2014/68/EU). The Directive covers a broad range of industrial equipment, such as compressors and heat exchangers, as well as consumer products such as fire extinguishers and pressure cookers. It enhances the quality and safety of pressure equipment, clarifies responsibilities for manufacturers, importers and distributors and improves the supervision of such products by conformity assessment bodies. The Commission holds that the Netherlands extended the scope of the legislation to certain installations to which it does not apply. By imposing these additional obligations on manufacturers, the Dutch rules undermine the correct, uniform and efficient implementation of the Directive in all Member States – and ultimately the smooth functioning of the Single Market. The Netherlands now has two months to address the comments raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
8. Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality
(For more information: Christian Wigand – tel.: +32 229 62253, Melanie Voin - tel.: +32 229 58659)
Anti-money laundering: Commission urges IRELAND and SLOVAKIA to transpose EU rules
The European Commission decided today send a reasoned opinion to Ireland and Slovakia concerning their partial transposition of the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (Directive (EU) 2015/849). This Directive strengthens the existing rules and makes the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing more effective. These EU rules also improve transparency to prevent tax avoidance. All Member States had to transpose this Directive by 26 June 2017. Ireland and Slovakia made a partial notification regarding this Directive, but the main laws transposing this Directive are still in the national legislative process in these two countries. Ireland and Slovakia have two months to comply with its obligations; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU. There are currently open infringement procedures against 20 Member States in relation to their non-transposition of the latest EU Anti-Money Laundering rules, 10 are at the stage of a letter of formal notice, 10 Member States have received a reasoned opinion by now (8 in last December, an additional 2 in March 2018). In the meantime, a number of Member States have adopted and notified their transposition measures. The Commission is currently assessing the completeness of the Member States notifications and will decide on appropriate follow-up steps in due course.
9. Mobility and Transport
(For more information: Enrico Brivio – tel.: +32 229 56172, Alexis Perier - tel.: +32 229 69143)
A referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union
Aviation security: Commission refers CROATIA to the Court for failing to update national legislation
The European Commission decided today to refer Croatia to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to implement some of the common European rules in the field of aviation security (Regulation (EC) No 300/2008). This is a matter of administrative nature that is not linked to security shortcomings. The Regulation requires Member States to regularly update their national aviation security legislation. Such legislation defines organisational structures, responsibilities and mechanisms to monitor activities at national airports, vis-à-vis airlines and aviation security related entities. This is to ensure that any security issue is swiftly detected and corrected. However, and despite repeated requests from the Commission, Croatia still has not formally updated the relevant legislation. The Commission has therefore decided to refer the matter to Court of Justice of the EU. For more information, please refer to the full press release.
Road transport: Commission calls on 3 Member States to fully implement EU rules on the maximum weights and dimensions of certain road vehicles
The Commission today requested Germany, Poland and Slovenia to fully transpose into national law the updated European rules regarding the maximum weights and dimensions of certain road vehicles (Directive 2015/719/EU). These rules, which concern international traffic, play an important role for the functioning of the internal market and the free movement of goods in Europe. Among others, the Directive introduces derogations for heavy good vehicles with improved aerodynamic performance, or for those powered by alternative fuels. This is not to penalise the use of cleaner vehicles, which may be longer or heavier than conventional ones. This Directive should have been implemented by Member States by 7 May 2017. All Member States concerned now have two months to ensure full implementation of the Directive; otherwise, the Commission may refer these cases to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Letters of formal notice
Aviation security: Commission urges GREECE to adequately monitor the implementation of aviation security standards
The Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice to Greece for failing to comply with some of the common European rules in the field of civil aviation security (Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 18/2010). A Commission inspection of the Greek civil aviation appropriate authority revealed that entities responsible for the implementation of aviation security standards on the Greek territory were not regularly monitored. Greece now has two months to respond to the arguments raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
Driving licence: Commission calls on 4 Member States to correctly apply common EU rules
The Commission decided today to send letters of formal notice to Germany, Italy, Latvia and the Netherlands urging these Member States to comply with the common European rules on driving licences (Directive 2006/126/EC as amended). Annex I of the Directive determines how restrictions to the licence (e.g. the requirement to wear glasses) and other additional information should be displayed on the licence. National measures in Germany, Italy, Latvia and the Netherlands, however, run contrary to some of those requirements. The 4 Member States now have two months to respond to the arguments raised by the Commission; the Commission may otherwise decide to send a reasoned opinion.
Road safety: Commission reminds the Netherlands of its reporting obligation
The Commission decided today to remind the Netherlands of its reporting obligation under the EU legislation on the technical roadside inspection of commercial vehicles (Directive 2000/30/EC). The Directive requires Member States to communicate to the Commission every second year a set of data collected and related to the technical roadside inspection of commercial vehicles (busses, lorries and heavy trailers). Member States had to submit the reports concerning the period 2015-2016 by 31 March 2017. Despite continuous efforts to obtain the report, the Netherlands did not comply with the obligation. The Netherlands now has two months to remedy the situation; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
10. Taxation and Customs Union
(For more information: Vanessa Mock – tel.: +32 229 56194, Patrick Mc Cullough – tel.: +32 229 87183)
Letters of formal notice
Taxation: Commission requests BULGARIA to change its VAT rules for companies trading in fuel and for non-business use of company assets
The Commission decided today to send letters of formal notice to Bulgaria asking for its value-added tax (VAT) rules to be brought into line with EU law. One case involves the fact that small companies trading in fuel are currently obliged to provide excessive amounts of money in advance to guarantee their ability to pay their VAT bill. Big companies only need to deposit a guarantee of an amount equal to the VAT due for their transactions. The Commission considers that the national legislation is not compatible with EU rules (the VAT Directive, Council Directive 2006/112/EC) and with the freedom to conduct a business (Article 16 of the Charter of Fundamental rights of the EU). Separately, Bulgaria is asked to change its ruleson how VAT due is calculated when business assets are used for private or non-business purposes and when business assets are transferred to another Member State. If Bulgaria does not act on these two requests within the next two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion to the Bulgarian authorities.
Taxation: Commission requests GERMANY to align its rules with EU law regarding a VAT scheme made available to farmers
The Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice to Germany in relation to its application of a specific VAT scheme for farmers. EU rules (the VAT Directive) allow Member States to apply a flat-rate VAT scheme for farmers. Under this scheme, farmers charge their customers a standard amount – or ‘flat-rate compensation' - on their agricultural products and services, instead of applying the normal VAT rules. In turn, those farmers cannot claim compensation for VAT they have already paid. The scheme is supposed to be used by farmers who are likely to experience administrative difficulties when following normal VAT rules. However, Germany applies the flat-rate scheme by default to all farmers, including owners of large farms who would not encounter any such difficulties. In addition, according to figures from the German Supreme Audit Institution (in German: Bundesrechnungshof), according the flat-rate in this way to farmers results in overcompensation for the input VAT that they have paid. This is not allowed under EU rules and generates major distortions of competition in the internal market. If Germany does not act within the next two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion to the German authorities.
VAT on yachts: Commission opens infringement procedures against CYPRUS, GREECE and MALTA
The Commission decided today to send letters of formal notice toCyprus, Greece and Malta for not levying the correct amount of Value-Added Tax (VAT) on the provision of yachts. This issue can generate major distortions of competition and featured heavily in the coverage of last year's 'Paradise Papers' leaks. In detail, the infringement procedures launched today concern: a reduced VAT base for the lease of yachts – a general VAT scheme provided by Cyprus, Greece and Malta.While current EU VAT rules allow Member States not to tax the supply of a service where the effective use and enjoyment of the product is outside the EU, they do not allow for a general flat-rate reduction without proof of the place of actual use. Malta, Cyprus and Greece have established guidelines according to which the larger the boat is, the less the lease is estimated to take place in EU waters, a rule which greatly reduces the applicable VAT rate. The incorrect taxation in Cyprus and Malta of purchases of yachts by means of what is known as 'lease-purchase'. The Cypriot and Maltese laws currently classify the leasing of a yacht as a supply of a service rather than a good. This results in VAT only being levied at the standard rate on a minor amount of the real cost price of the craft once the yacht has finally been bought, the rest being taxed as the supply of a service and at a greatly reduced rate. The 3 Member States now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission. If they do not act within those two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion to their authorities. For more information, please refer to the full press release.
Taxation: Commission requests POLAND to align its rules with EU law regarding excise duty on energy products
The Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice to Poland regarding an exemption from excise duty for gas and coal products which is currently extended to all energy-intensive businesses that fall within the scope of the mandatory EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS). EU rules (the Energy Tax Directive, Council Directive 2003/96/EC) require businesses benefitting from such exemptions due to their introduction of environmental or energy efficiency improvements, to go beyond what is required by binding EU instruments such as the EU ETS. However, the Polish legislation does not require such a level of energy efficiency and its approach creates distortions of competition in the internal market. If Poland does not act within the next two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion to the Polish authorities.