A summary of the infringement decisions relating to Ireland:
Digital Single Market – Commission launches infringement procedures over 112 emergency phone number, unjustified geo-blocking and EU-wide cybersecurity rules
The European Commission today decided to pursue infringement procedures against a number of Member States following their failure to meet their obligations related to the Digital Single Market. The Commission will send reasoned opinions to Bulgaria, Germany, and Ireland for failing to notify the full transposition of the EU law on accessibility of the websites and mobile applications (Directive (EU) 2016/2102), and to Croatia for its failure to adequately spell out its plans for rolling out the 700MHz frequency band for 5G services (Decision (EU) 2017/899). In addition, the Commission has also decided to send letters of formal notice to a number of EU countries. Firstly, to Austria, Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Romania, and Slovenia for failing to submit information about operators of essential services identified under the EU law on the security of network and information systems (Directive (EU) 2016/1148). Secondly, to Croatia, Czechia, Germany, Greece, and Spain after they failed to effectively implement the rules on the 112 emergency number (Directive 2002/22/EC), in particular by ensuring equivalent access for disabled users. Finally, following delays to the transposition of the EU Geo-blocking Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2018/302) into national law, Cyprus, France, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain will receive letters of formal notice from the Commission. This concerns the adoption and notification of measures applicable to infringements of the geo-blocking rules, including sanctions by national enforcement bodies for businesses breaching EU rules. The Member States concerned now have two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion or refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU, as appropriate.
Environment – Environmental impact assessment: Commission calls on IRELAND to ensure that peat extraction activities are adequately assessed
The Commission urges Ireland to ensure that peat bog extraction activities are properly assessed before authorisation. In a previous legal case on this matter (Commission vs Ireland of September 1999, C-392/96), the Court of Justice of the EU ruled against Ireland, finding it in breach of EU law. As confirmed by the Court, under the EU rules on environmental impact assessment (the Environmental Impact Directive, Directive 2011/92/EU), the impact of peat extraction activities on the environment must be properly assessed before authorisation. The Commission is concerned that these EU rules are still not being applied. Furthermore, a recent amendment of Irish law in January 2019 affecting larger extraction sites now gives operators more time for extraction activities that are in breach of EU law. As a result, the Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to the Irish authorities. Ireland now has two months to address the Commission’s concerns. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union – Financial services: Commission requests IRELAND to apply new EU rules on institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORPs)
The Commission decided today to send a reasoned opinion to Ireland for not complying with its obligation to implement EU rules on institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORPs) (IORPs II, Directive (EU) 2016/2341). The Directive provides for a comprehensive regulatory framework regarding the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision. In December 2016, Member States committed to transpose EU rules into national legislation by 13 January 2019. However, Ireland has not communicated to the Commission the required national measures. If the measures to enact this Directive are not notified within two months, the Commission may decide to refer Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs – Firearms: Commission urges 20 Member States to transpose new EU rules
Today, the European Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to 20 Member States urging them to transpose the new EU rules on firearms (the Firearms Directive, Directive (EU) 2017/853) into national legislation. The revised EU Directive, adopted by Member States in May 2017, tightens controls on the legal acquisition and possession of firearms. Member States were obliged to inform the Commission of the transposition measures for the majority of the Directive’s provisions by 14 September 2018. The Commission is now addressing reasoned opinions to Belgium, Czechia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, and the United Kingdom for partially notifying the relevant transposition measures as well as Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain for not communicating any measures to the Commission. This step follows the letters of formal notice, which the Commission sent to Member States in November 2018. The Member States concerned now have two months to notify the Commission of the measures taken. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality – Criminal justice: Commission urges BULGARIA and IRELAND to correctly implement EU law on recognition of judgments imposing custodial sentences
The Commission today decided to send reasoned opinions to Bulgaria and Ireland regarding their failure to transpose the EU rules on recognition of judgments imposing custodial sentences (Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA). These rules ensure the mutual recognition of judgments in criminal matters imposing prison sentences. EU legislation also aims to facilitate the social rehabilitation of the sentenced individuals. Neither Bulgaria nor Ireland has communicated any adopted national law transposing the provisions of the Framework Decision, nor provided satisfactory answers on completion of the ongoing legislative procedures. The Bulgarian and Irish authorities now have two months to take the necessary measures to comply with the concerns raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Criminal justice: Commission calls on IRELAND to fully implement EU rules on number of framework decisions
The Commission decided today to send four reasoned opinions to Ireland for failing fully transpose in its national law the following Council Framework Decisions: on probation measures and alternative sanctions (Decision 2008/947/JHA), on supervision measures (Decision 2009/829/JHA), on financial penalties (Decision 2005/214/JHA) and on the exchange of criminal records information (Decision 2009/315/JHA). The purpose of the framework decision on the probation measures and alternative sanctions is to facilitate the application of suitable probation measures and alternative sanctions, in the case of offenders who do not live in the State of conviction. As regards the framework decision on the supervision measures, this ensures that the person concerned will be available to stand trial. The framework decision on financial penalties 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 easily executed. However, the framework decision on the exchange of criminal records information facilitates rapid exchange of information extracted from criminal records registers between the Member States. In its reply to the letter of formal notice sent by the Commission in January 2019, Ireland has not provided satisfactory answers on the completion of the ongoing legislative procedures. The Irish authorities now have two months to take the necessary measures to comply with the concerns raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Mobility and Transport – Railway infrastructure: Commission urges GREECE and IRELAND to enact EU law on rail market opening and governance
Today, the Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Greece and Ireland urging them to communicate the national measures taken to transpose EU rules on the opening of the market for domestic passenger transport services by rail and the governance of the railway infrastructure (Directive (EU) 2016/2370) which are parts of the 4th Railway Package. In December 2016, Member States agreed to transpose the Directive into national law by 25 December 2018. In January 2019, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice requesting Greece and Ireland to comply with the Directive. To date, however, Greece and Ireland have still not communicated to the Commission which measures have been taken to that end. They now have two months to comply with their obligations; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Single European railway area: Commission calls on DENMARK, IRELAND, the NETHERLANDS, and POLAND to fully transpose EU law
Today, the Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Poland for failing to transpose certain provisions of the EU rules on establishing a single European railway area (Directive 2012/34/EU). The Directive aims to create a single European rail area, notably on competition issues, regulatory oversight and financial architecture of the railway sector, the power of national regulators, improved framework for investment in rail, and fair and non-discriminatory access to rail infrastructure and rail related services. In November 2012, Member States adopted the Directive and agreed to transpose these rules into national law by 16 June 2015. The Member States concerned now have two months to reply. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
Taxation and Customs Union – Taxation: Commission adopts set of infringement procedures on the Anti-Tax Avoidance rules
The Commission today decided to send a letter of formal notice to Austria and Ireland requesting them to implement the interest limitation measure as required by EU tax avoidance practices (the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive Council Directive (EU) 2016/1164 or ATAD). If Austria and Ireland do not act within the next two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion to their authorities. At the same time, the Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Denmark for its failure to notify national implementing measures for the controlled foreign company (CFC) rules of ATAD, which aim to deter profit shifting to low or no tax countries. If Denmark does not act within the next two months, the Commission may decide to bring the case before the Court of Justice of the EU. Finally, the Commission also decided today to close infringement proceedings against Belgium, Cyprus, Czechia, France, Greece, Portugal and the United Kingdom since they have now fulfilled their obligations to communicate to the Commission their respective anti-tax avoidance rules implementing the Directive.