Brussels, 26 January 2023.
The following are the main decisions taken by the Commission in its infringement package. The Commission will also close 221 cases that the Member States concerned have settled without the Commission having to pursue the procedure further.
1. Environment and fisheries
(For more information: Adalbert Jahnz – Tel. +32 229 53156, Daniela Stoycheva – Tel.: +32 229 53664)
Letters of formal notice
Clean air: Commission calls on 14 Member States to reduce emissions of several air pollutants
The Commission is calling on 14 Member States (Bulgaria (INFR(2022)2068), Denmark (INFR(2022)2070), Ireland (INFR(2022)2073), Spain (INFR(2022)2071), Cyprus (INFR(2022)2069) Latvia (INFR(2022)2076), Lithuania (INFR(2022)2074), Luxembourg (INFR(2022)2075), Hungary (INFR(2022)2072), Austria (INFR(2022)2067), Poland (INFR(2022)2077), Portugal (INFR(2022)2078), Romania (INFR(2022)2079) and Sweden (INFR(2022)2080)) to respect their reduction commitments for several air pollutants as required by Directive 2016/2284 on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants (the ‘National Emission Ceilings’ or ‘NEC Directive’). The NEC Directive sets national emission reduction commitments for several pollutants to be attained by each Member State each year between 2020 and 2029, and more ambitious reductions for 2030 onwards. Member States are required to establish national air pollution control programmes (NAPCPs) to show how these reduction commitments will be met. The European Green Deal, with its zero pollution ambition, puts emphasis on cutting air pollution, which is among the key factors negatively affecting human health. The Commission analysed the national emission inventories of several pollutants submitted by Member States in 2022 (reflecting emissions from 2020). The 14 Member States mentioned above have failed to meet their commitments for one or several pollutants targeted by the NEC Directive. Moreover, since the measures set out in the NAPCP of most of these Member States have not ensured reaching the emission reduction commitment for one or several pollutants, these measures are not sufficient to limit the annual human-caused emissions as required by the Directive. Ammonia (stemming from the agricultural sector) is the pollutant for which most of these Member States do not comply with their obligations. The Commission is therefore sending letters of formal notice to these 14 Member States, which now have two months to respond and address the shortcomings raised by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.
2. Migration, Home Affairs and Security Union **
(For more information: Anitta Hipper – Tel.: +32 229 85691; Yuliya Matsyk — Tél.: +32 229 13173, Andrea Masini — Tél.: +32 229 91519; Fiorella Belciu — Tél.: + 32 2 299 37 34)
Letters of formal notice
Reception conditions of asylum seekers: Commission calls BELGIUM, GREECE, SPAIN, and PORTUGAL to transpose in a fully conform manner all provisions of with the Reception Conditions Directive *
The Commission has decided to open infringement procedures by sending letters of formal notice to Belgium (INF(2022)2157), Greece (INF(2022)2156), Spain (INF(2022)2158) and Portugal (INF(2022)2153) for failing to transpose in a fully conform manner all provisions of the Directive laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (Directive 2013/33/EU). Ensuring the full respect of the Reception Conditions Directive is an important prerequisite for the well-functioning Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and the Commission is carefully monitoring the way in which all Member States have transposed this legislation into national law. The Commission considers that Belgium, Greece, Spain and Portugal have incorrectly transposed certain provisions of the Directive and they have now two months to respond to the arguments raised by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.
Terrorist content online: Commission calls BELGIUM, BULGARIA, CZECHIA, DENMARK, ESTONIA, IRELAND, GREECE, SPAIN, ITALY, CYPRUS, LATVIA, LITHUANIA, LUXEMBOURG, MALTA, NETHERLANDS, AUSTRIA, POLAND, PORTUGAL, ROMANIA, SLOVENIA, FINLAND and SWEDEN to comply with the terrorist content online Regulation
The Commission has decided to open an infringement procedure by sending letters of formal notice to Belgium (INFR(2022)2112), Bulgaria (INFR(2022)2113), Czechia (INFR(2022)2115), Denmark (INFR(2022)2116), Estonia (INFR(2022)2117), Ireland (INFR(2022)2121), Greece (INFR(2022)2118), Spain (INFR(2022)2119), Italy (INFR(2022)2122), Cyprus (INFR(2022)2114), Latvia (INFR(2022)2125), Lithuania (INFR(2022)2123), Luxembourg (INFR(2022)2124), Malta (INFR(2022)2126), Netherlands (INFR(2022)2127), Austria (INFR(2022)2111), Poland (INFR(2022)2128), Portugal (INFR(2022)2129), Romania (INFR(2022)2130), Slovenia (INFR(2022)2132), Finland (INFR(2022)2120) and Sweden (INFR(2022)2131) for the incorrect implementation of the EU Regulation on addressing the dissemination of terrorist content online (Regulation (EU) 2021/784). Ensuring the full implementation of the Regulation is fundamental to prevent terrorists from misusing the internet to spread their ideology, intimidate, radicalise and recruit citizens online. The Regulation provides a legal framework to ensure removal of terrorist content online within one hour after receipt of a removal order issued by a national competent authority and obliges companies to take special measures when their platforms are exposed to such content. At the same time, it puts in place strong safeguards to guarantee that freedom of expression and information are fully respected. Following the entry into application of the Regulation on 7 June 2022, not all Member States have adopted all the measures as outlined in the Regulation into their national law. The Commission therefore considers that Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Finland and Sweden have failed to fully implement the obligations under the regulation and they have now two months to respond to the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion. A press release with more information is available online.
3. Energy and climate
(For more information: Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602; Giulia Bedini – Tel. +32 229 58661)
Letters of formal notice
Renewable energy: Commission urges SPAIN to fully transpose the Renewable Energy Directive
The Commission decided today to send a reasoned opinion to Spain (INFR(2021)0220) for not having fully transposed EU rules on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources set out in Directive (EU) 2018/2001. This Directive provides the legal framework for the development of renewable energy in electricity, heating and cooling, and transport in the EU. It sets an EU-level binding target for 2030 of at least 32% renewable energy and includes measures to ensure support for renewable energy is cost-effective, and to simplify administrative procedures for renewable energy projects. It also facilitates the participation of citizens in the energy transition, and sets specific targets to increase the share of renewables in the heating and cooling and transport sectors by 2030. The deadline to transpose the Directive into national law was 30 June 2021. In July 2021, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Spain. To date, Spain has only partially transposed the Directive. It now has two months to comply with the transposition obligation and notify the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
4. Taxation and Customs Union
(For more information: Daniel Ferrie – Tel.: +32 229 86500; Francesca Dalboni – Tel.: +32 229 88170)
Letter of formal notice
Taxation: Commission requests SPAIN to implement properly the new EU tax dispute resolution mechanism (DRM)
The Commission has today decided to send a letter of formal notice to Spain (INFR(2022)2096) for the incorrect transposition of the resolution mechanism for cross-border tax disputes (Directive (EU) 2017/1852). The mechanism ensures a faster and more effective resolution of tax disputes between Member States, providing much more tax certainty for businesses and citizens experiencing double taxation issues. In its assessment of the Spanish transposition of the Directive, the Commission considers that the national implementing legislation does not provide for a number of key features of the new rules. Spain has now two months to reply to the letter of formal notice. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.
Taxation: Commission urges SPAIN to transpose new rules on excise duties
The Commission has today decided to send a reasoned opinion to Spain (INFR(2022)0074) for failing to notify the measures for the transposition into national law of Directive (EU) 2020/262 laying down the general arrangements for excise duty (recast). This Directive, which repeals and replaces Directive 2008/118/EC, sets out common provisions applicable to all products subject to excise duties. It lays down a series of new rules, which will be applicable from 13 February 2023 and Member States were required to transpose this Directive by 31 December 2021. To date, Spain has not notified any transposition measures to the Commission. Spain has now two months to comply with the transposition obligation and notify the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
5. Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union
(For more information: Daniel Ferrie – Tel.: +32 229 86500, Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)
Letters of formal notice
Anti-Money Laundering: Commission urges SPAIN and ITALY to apply correctly the Anti-Money Laundering Directive
The Commission has today sent letters of formal notice to Spain (INFR(2022)2151) and Italy (INFR(2022)2150) on grounds of their incorrect application of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4thAML as amended by 5thAML). These Member States had notified a complete transposition of the Directive. Nevertheless, the Commission has identified several instances of incorrect application of the Directive, which refer to the functioning of one of its keystones: the setting up of the central beneficial ownership registers. Enhancing transparency is fundamental to combat the misuse of legal entities. Member States have to ensure that information about the real owners of these legal entities (their beneficial owners) is stored in a central register. Member States can, for that purpose, use a central database which collects beneficial ownership information, or the business register, or another central register. Confidence in financial markets from investors and the general public depends largely on the existence of an accurate disclosure regime that provides transparency in the beneficial ownership and control structures of companies. This is particularly true for corporate governance systems that are characterised by concentrated ownership, such as the ones in the European Union. Without a satisfactory response from these Member States within two months, the Commission may decide to continue the infringement procedure and send a reasoned opinion.