Extract from the European Commission’s
January infringements package: key decisions
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.
For more information on the EU infringement procedure, see the full MEMO/12/12.
Environmental impact assessment: Commission takes IRELAND back to the Court and proposes fines
The European Commission is taking Ireland back to the Court of Justice of the EU for its failure to comply with part of the Court judgement of 3 July 2008 (C-215/06, Commission v Ireland), by not carrying out an environmental impact assessment for the Derrybrien wind farm in County Galway in Ireland. Although the Derrybrien wind farm was constructed already more than 13 years ago, no real impact assessment has been carried out. Such impact assessment of certain public and private projects on the environment is required under the EU rules before construction is allowed to commence. The scale of the development and its sensitive moorland hilltop location means that its operation continues to have an impact locally. The site could still benefit from mitigation and remediation measures, but these can only be identified after an environmental impact assessment has been done. Ireland must, therefore, ensure that this happens. The Court of Justice of the EU ruled on 3 July 2008, amongst others, that Ireland had failed to carry out an environmental impact assessment for the 70 turbine wind farm – the largest in Ireland, and, at the time of judgment, one of the largest in the EU. Its construction required the removal of large areas of forest and extraction of peat up to 5,5 metres deep on the top of the Cashlaundrumlahan Mountain, causing a 2 km environmentally devastating landslide in October 2003. The Commission is requesting the Court of Justice of the EU to impose a minimum lump sum payment of € 1 685 000.00 (€ 1 343.20 per day). The Commission is also proposing a daily penalty payment of €12 264.00, if full compliance is not achieved by the date when the Court issues its ruling. The final decision on the penalties rests with the Court of Justice of the EU. The final decision on the penalties rests with the Court of Justice of the EU. For more information, please refer to the full press release.
Water: Commission urges IRELAND to comply with EU water rules
The Commission requests Ireland to comply with the obligation to prepare a second round of the River Basin Management Plans under the Water Framework Directive(Directive 2000/60/EC). These Plans are meant to provide a comprehensive overview of the main issues for each river basin district and should include the specific measures needed to achieve set environmental quality objectives. So far, Ireland has not adopted, published or communicated to the Commission the review and update of its first River Basin Management Plans, due by 22 October 2015 for all the seven river basin districts. Consequently, the Commission sent Ireland a letter of formal notice in April 2017 and is now sending a reasoned opinion. Ireland has two months to comply with its obligations; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Biodiversity: EU urges 9 Member States to enact EU rules on utilisation of genetic resources
The Commission is sending a letter of formal notice to Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, IRELAND, Italy, and Latvia. The Commission is in view that the 9 Member States have failed to designate competent authorities which are responsible for the application of EU rules for users from the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources (so-called ‘EU Access and Benefit Sharing‘ Regulation (EU) No 511/2014). Each Member State should designate one or more competent authorities to be responsible for the application of this Regulation on access to genetic resources. Member States also must lay down effective, proportionate and dissuasive rules on penalties applicable to infringements of this Regulation. Global biodiversity is protected by the international Convention on Biological Diversity and its Nagoya Protocol. The Regulation aligns EU law with these international obligations. These EU rules also establish a framework for researchers and companies accessing and utilizing EU genetic resources and the traditional knowledge associated with them. As these Member States have not supplied information to the Commission on a number of implementing provisions, the Commission is sending them a letter of formal notice. They have two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
Insurance: Commission closes 4 cases as Member States transpose rules on insurance and reinsurance
The European Commission welcomes the transposition of the national rules on the taking-up and pursuit of the business of insurance and reinsurance(Solvency II – Directive 2009/138/EU, and Omnibus II – Directive 2014/51/EU) by Cyprus, IRELAND, Portugal and Latvia. Solvency II, a risk-based prudential framework for supervision of insurance and reinsurance companies, aims to protect policyholders and beneficiaries by ensuring the financial soundness of insurance companies. The Commission has decided today to close the infringement cases initiated for these Member States in May 2015.
Roadworthiness: Commission urges Member States to transpose new vehicle testing rules increasing road safety
The Commission requested today 6 Member States to fully transpose the ‘Roadworthiness Package’ adopted in 2014 and whose aim is to improve vehicle testing in EU, and, therefore, road safety. This package is made of three EU Directives which Member States were required to transpose by 20 May 2017. To date, however, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, IRELAND, Romania and Slovakia have not – or only partially – done so. Firstly, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia have not adopted, published and communicated to the Commission the national measures transposing the updated rules on the periodical technical inspection of motor vehicles and their trailers (Directive 2014/45/EU). The Directive covers passenger cars, trucks, buses, heavy-trailers, motorcycles and speed tractors, and defines the items to be tested during the roadworthiness test, the tests methods, and the defects and their assessment. The Directive also introduces minimum requirements for the testing facilities, the training of inspectors and the supervising bodies.Secondly, Cyprus, Ireland, and Slovakia havenot adopted, published and communicated to the Commission national measures transposing the updated rules concerning the registration documents for vehicles (Directive 2014/46/EU). This Directive requires Member States to set up electronic vehicle registers with harmonised content, and it defines the procedure to be followed in case of a failed periodic roadworthiness test. Finally, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland and Slovakia havenot adopted, published and communicated to the Commission the national measures transposing the update regime for the technical roadside inspection of commercial vehicles (Directive 2014/47/EU). This Directive provides common rules for the technical roadside inspection of trucks, buses, heavy-trailers and speed tractors. The Commission sent these requests in the form of reasoned opinions. All Member States concerned now have two months to reply; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice of the EU.