In its monthly package of infringement decisions published today, the European 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 package includes five reasoned opinions concerning Ireland.
Commission calls on Greece and Ireland to implement EU rules for Access and Benefits Sharing in full
The European Commission is calling on Greece and Ireland to step up their implementation of EU law designed to ensure access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use. Following the entry into force of the EU Regulation on Access and Benefits Sharing (Regulation No 511/2014) on June 11, 2014, EU Member States were required to take measures in order to ensure efficient implementation of the Regulation. Member States are obliged in particular to designate competent authorities responsible for the application of the Regulation, and inform the Commission. They are also obliged to introduce rules on penalties for failing to abide by the legislation. As Greece and Ireland have failed to notify any legislation designating such authorities or establishing penalties, the Commission has decided to send each Member State a reasoned opinion, giving them two months to reply; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer Greece and Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Commission calls on Ireland to finalise the designation of conservation areas
The European Commission urges Ireland 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 finalise the designation of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). They also have to establish, for these areas, the conservation priorities, objectives and measures to maintain or restore the species and habitats present in these areas to a favourable condition. These steps need to be carried out within a six-year deadline, which, in the case of Ireland, expired on December 12, 2014. Thus, 255 areas out of 423 have not yet been designated. Site-specific conservation objectives have not been established for 198 sites, and the necessary conservation measures have not been established for any site. In particular, the necessary conservation measures have not been established for the priority habitat types “Coastal Lagoons” at 25 sites and “Blanket Bog” at 50 sites, as well as for the species “Freshwater Pearl Mussel” at 19 sites. The Commission is, therefore, sending an additional reasoned opinion. Ireland has now two months to reply to the concerns raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality
Commission calls on Ireland, Romania and Slovenia to implement the EU Victims’ Rights Directive
The Commission is sending reasoned opinions to Ireland, Romania and Slovenia to urge them to properly implement the EU Victims’ Rights Directive (Directive 2012/29/EU). The Victims’ Rights Directive gives victims of crime clear rights to access information, to participate in criminal proceedings and to receive support and protection adapted to their needs. This Directive also ensures that vulnerable victims – such as children, victims of rape, or those with disabilities – are identified, so they can receive additional protection during criminal proceedings. The EU rules apply to all victims of crime in the EU regardless of their nationality. The Victims’ Rights Directive had to be transposed into national law by November 16, 2015. Ireland has implemented the rules, however, analysis by the Commission shows they are not complete. Romania and Slovenia have notified only partial implementation of the rules. As a result, the Commission is calling on the Irish, Romanian and Slovenian authorities to take action and is sending them reasoned opinions. If the Irish, Romanian and Slovenian authorities fail to act within two months, the cases may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Commission urges Ireland and Spain to implement new package travel rules
The Commission is sending reasoned opinions to Ireland and Spain to urge them to implement the new package travel rules (Directive 2015/2302/EU). The rules modernise consumer protection for package holidays by giving protection to the 120 million consumers who book combined forms of travel. The updated framework brings clearer rules on information for travellers and on liability, as well as that they reinforce money-back and repatriation in case of bankruptcy. Member States had to implement the package travels rules in national legislation by January 1, 2018. This was followed by a six-month transition period, until July 1, when the national measures transposing the Directive should have started applying across the EU. Since neither Ireland nor Spain have implemented the new package travel rules, the Commission is today sending a reasoned opinion following the letter of formal notice sent on March 22, 2018. If the Irish or Spanish authorities fail to act within two months, the cases may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Commission calls on Ireland to implement the legislation behind the European Criminal Records Information System
The Commission is sending a letter of formal notice to Ireland to urge the country to implement the legislation behind the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS). The system allows criminal records to be electronically exchanged between authorities throughout the EU. It makes sure this is done in a fast and standardised way, within short deadlines. It provides judges and prosecutors but also administrative authorities with easy access to information on previous convictions of convicted criminals, and thus prevents offenders from escaping their criminal past when moving from one EU Member State to another. Although Ireland has been using the system for many years, it has not yet transposed the Framework Decision on ECRIS into their national legislation, which would ensure that the use of this system is obligatory. Ireland is the only EU Member State to have not done so. If Ireland does not act within the next two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion on this matter.