Under the Treaties the Commission is responsible for ensuring that Community law is correctly applied. As the Guardian of the Treaties, the Commission has the option of commencing infringement proceedings under Article 258 (ex Article 226 TEC) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union whenever it considers that a Member State has breached Community law. The purpose of the procedure is to bring the infringement to an end. The infringement procedure starts with a letter of formal notice, by which the Commission allows the Member State to present its views regarding the breach observed. . If no reply to the letter of formal notice is received, or if the observations presented by the Member State in reply to that notice cannot be considered satisfactory, the Commission will move to the next stage of infringement procedure, which is the reasoned opinion; if necessary, the Commission will then refer the case to the Court of Justice.
The Commission’s annual reports on the application of Community law have been published since 1982 and are designed to give the public access to information on ongoing legal proceedings. In addition, on the website of the Court of Justice of the European Communities one has access to judgements delivered by the Court. All judgments may be consulted also via EUR-Lex. Overall view of the implementation of Community Directives and the Commission infringement proceedings is given on the Secretariat-General website.