Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Free movement of workers: Commission requests CYRPUS, FRANCE, IRELAND, and ROMANIA to notify full transposition of the rules on supplementary pension rights for mobile workers
The European Commission decided today to send reasoned opinions to Cyprus, France, Ireland, and Romania for failing to notify the full transposition of EU rules on supplementary pension rights (the Pensions Portability Directive, Directive 2014/50/EU) into national law. The Directive lays downminimum requirements on the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights. This Directive is important to promote labour mobility by safeguarding mobile workers' supplementary pension rights. In April 2014, Member States agreed to transpose this Directive and communicate national transposition measures to the Commission by May 2018. The Commission has already sent a letter of formal notice to these countries in July 2018. All 4 countries replied that the transposition process was underway. As the Commission has still not received notification of full transposition, it has now decided to send a reasoned opinion. If the Member States fail to act within two months, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Sustainable biofuels: Commission calls on 6 Member States to enact EU rules on Indirect Land Use Change linked to petrol and diesel fuels
Today, the Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to Germany and Latvia, and letters of formal notice to Finland, France, Ireland, and Czechia for failing to fully transpose EU rules on the quality of petrol and diesel fuels on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (Directive (EU) 2015/1513). This Directive aims to reduce the risk of indirect land-use change linked with biofuel production. Indirect land-use change occurs when agricultural land used for growing crops for food or feed purposes starts to be used for growing crops for biofuel production instead - increasing the pressure to use other (unused) land to grow crops for food and purposes to meet that demand for food and feed, which has implications for greenhouse gas emissions. For example, atmospheric CO2 levels increase when agricultural land is extended into land with high carbon stocks, such as forests, wetlands and peat land. The Directive also prepares the transition towards advanced biofuels which are produced from materials such as waste and residues. Under the Directive, Member States had to transpose EU legislation and to communicate such measures to the Commission until 10 December 2017. The Member States concerned have now two months to reply to the concerns raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to proceed to the next stage of the infringement process, including referral to the Court of Justice of the EU for today's reasoned opinions.
Biodiversity: Commission urges 9 Member States to protect the environment against invasive alien species
The European Commission is calling on Cyprus, Czechia, France, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain to step up their implementation of the EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species (Regulation No 1143/2014). Invasive alien species are plants and animals that become established in areas outside their natural range, spreading rapidly and out-competing native species, with severe economic and environmental consequences. After the law entered into force on 1 January 2015, Member States had to introduce dissuasive penalties, and Member States with outermost regions had to adopt specific lists of invasive alien species for those territories and inform the Commission accordingly. The Member States in question have failed to notify the Commission about their penalties, or about lists of invasive alien species for outermost regions, or both. The Commission has, therefore, decided to send each Member State a letter of formal notice giving them two months to reply; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
Marine environment: Commission calls on FRANCE, IRELAND and ITALY to protect their marine waters
The European Commission urges France, Ireland and Italy to comply with the reporting obligations on the environmental status of marine waters under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Directive 2008/56). The Directive provides a holistic framework to protect the EU's seas and oceans, and ensures that their resources are managed sustainably. Under the Directive, Member States were required to review and update their assessment of the environmental status of the waters concerned, the environmental impact of human activities, their determination of good environmental status and their environmental targets by 15 October 2018. The countries concerned failed to submit reports to the Commission by the required deadline. As a result, the Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice to France, Ireland and Italy. They now have two months to reply; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
Water: Commission urges IRELAND to improve management of its water resources
The Commission decided today to send an additional letter of formal notice to Ireland as there are still a number of instances of non-conformity and shortcomings in Ireland's transposition of the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC). Ireland adopted new legislation in 2009, 2010 and 2014 improving on its initial transposition of the Directive, but shortcomings have remained. Those identified include Ireland's failure to ensure that activities involving water abstraction, impoundment and changes in hydromorphology are controlled through a system of prior authorisation and registration. Ireland is preparing new legislation to bring in controls for water abstraction, but this has not been adopted and communicated to the Commission yet. Ireland has two months to comply with its obligations; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
Health and Food Safety
Public health: Commission urges IRELAND to notify transposition of EU law on tissues and cells intended for human application
Today, the European Commission decided to send two reasoned opinions to Ireland over failure to notify transposition of EU rules on human tissues and cells (Commission Directive (EU) 2015/565and Commission Directive (EU) 2015/566). The Commission Directive 2015/565 requires the tissues and cells intended for human application in the EU to be traceable from donor to recipient, and vice versa. A unique identifier called the Single European Code (SEC), which together with its accompanying documentation, allows for this traceability and provides information on the main characteristics of tissues and cells for human use. Commission Directive 2015/566 lays down the procedures to be followed by importing tissue establishments in their relations with their third country suppliers. These Directives set out that their provisions should have been transposed into national law by 29 October 2016 and communicated to the Commission its adopted measures. To date, there has been no notification of transposition from Ireland. Ireland has two months to communicate to the Commission the measures taken to transpose these Directives. Failure to notify these measures could lead the Commission to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Commission takes action to ensure professionals and service providers can fully benefit from the EU Single Market for services
Today, the European Commission took infringement decisions concerning 27 Member States to ensure the proper implementation of EU rules on services and professional qualifications. As highlighted in the Single Market Communication in November 2018, citizens and businesses can only enjoy the many benefits of the Single Market if the rules that have been jointly agreed actually work on the ground. Today, the Commission takes action to ensure respect of EU rules in the field of services. While services represent two thirds of the EU economy, a number of barriers still prevent the services sector from reaching its full potential to the benefit of consumers, jobseekers and businesses, and generate economic growth across Europe. In total, the Commission is sending 31 letters of formal notice and one complementary letter of formal notice, in addition to two reasoned opinions, addressing several restrictions in the services sectors:letters of formal notice to 27 Member States (all but Denmark) for the non-compliance of their legislation and legal practice with EU rules on the recognition of professional qualifications and the corresponding access to activities (breach of the Professional Qualifications Directive); a reasoned opinion to Cyprus and a letter of formal notice to Portugal regarding their specific rules concerning the access to activities of engineers and architects (breach of the Professional Qualifications Directive); a supplementary letter of formal notice to Croatia regarding restrictions for lawyers to provide multidisciplinary services, advertising restrictions and limitations on the right to practice (breach of the EU Services Directive and the Directive 98/5/EC on the establishment of lawyers and law firms); two letters of formal notice to France and Poland and a reasoned opinion to Ireland regarding restrictions on advertising on the free movement of services in breach of EU rules (breach of Article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, TFEU, and the Services Directive); and a letter of formal notice to Belgium regarding the authorisation procedure and general requirements that the Brussels region applies to tourist accommodation service providers (breach of Services Directive). All Member States have now two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to proceed with the following steps of the infringements procedure. For more information, please refer to the full press release.
Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality
Criminal justice: Commission urges BULGARIA and IRELAND to correctly implement the framework decision on deprivation of liberty
The Commission calls on Bulgaria and Ireland to take action to ensure the EU rules on deprivation of liberty (Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA) are correctly implemented in national law. Member States had to adopt their national laws by 5 December 2011. These rules ensure the mutual recognition of judgments in criminal matters imposing prison sentences. EU rules aim to facilitate the social rehabilitation of the sentenced individuals. In Bulgaria, the draft legislative process is at an early stage and the country has not notified the Council and the Commission of any transposition yet. In March 2016, Ireland committed to adopt the legislation by the end of 2016. To date, the Irish authorities have failed to transpose the framework decision and to notify the transposition measures to the Council and the Commission. If Bulgaria and Ireland do not take the necessary action within the next two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion on this matter.
Criminal justice: Commission requests IRELAND to implement fully three Framework Decisions on probation measures and alternative sanctions, on supervision measures and on financial penalties
The Commission decided today to send 3 letters of formal notice to Ireland requesting that the country ensures full implementation in its national law of 3 Council Framework Decisions on probation measures and alternative sanctions (Decision 2008/947/JHA), on supervision measures (Decision 2009/829/JHA) and on financial penalties (Decision 2005/214/JHA). The purpose of the framework decision on the probation measures and alternative sanctions is to facilitate the social rehabilitation of sentenced persons, improving the protection of victims and of the general public. This also facilitates the application of suitable probation measures and alternative sanctions, in the case of offenders who do not live in the State of conviction. Member States had to adopt their national law until 6 December 2011.
The framework decision on the supervision measures ensures that the person concerned will be available to stand trial. It also promotes, where appropriate, the use, in the course of criminal proceedings, of non-custodial measures for persons who are not resident in the Member State where the proceedings are taking place. In addition, this decision improves the protection of victims and of the general public. Member States had to adopt national law by 1 December 2012. As regards the framework decision on financial penalties, it allows for mutual recognition of financial penalties, enabling a judicial or administrative authority to transmit a financial penalty directly to an authority in another EU country and to have that penalty recognised and executed without any further formality. EU countries had to implement this Decision by 21 March 2007. If Ireland does not take necessary action within the next two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion on this matter.
Mobility and Transport
Road safety: Commission calls on IRELAND and POLAND to report on exchange of information on road traffic offences
The Commission decided today to send letters of formal notice to Ireland and Poland for failing to report on their information exchange about road traffic offences as required by EU rules on facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences (Directive 2015/413/EU). The Directive allows Member States to identify and prosecute non-resident drivers committing offences, such as speeding and drink-driving on their territory. Member States have to send a report to the Commission indicating the number of automated searches on offences committed on their territory by vehicles registered abroad, conducted via an online platform. The report also has to indicate the number of failed searches as well as include a description of the follow-up given to the offences. This information is crucial for assessing the functioning of the information exchange, the effectiveness of the offences investigation by Member States and the Directive's impact on road safety. The report should have been submitted by 6 May 2018. Both countries have two months to reply to the concerns raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.