Infringement Proceedings againt the United Kingdom

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by Iolis, Feb 8, 2010.

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  1. Judgement has been handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Communities in two cases against the United Kingdom arising out of proceedings commenced by the European Commission as a consequence of the United Kingdom’s failure to properly transpose Directives into domestic law.

    On 4 February 2010, in Commisson v United Kingdom [2010] case 186/09 the United Kingdom was found guilty by the European Court of Justice of failing to properly transpose Directive 2004/113/EC – implementing the principle of equal treatment for men and women relating to access to and supply of goods and services. The measures referred to under Article 17 of the Directive were to have been brought fully into force throughout the Union by 21 December 2007 and the United Kingdom was required by the Directive to notify the Commission thereafter of its implementation measures.

    Since the United Kingdom failed to discharge its obligations under the Directive, the European Commission initiated infringement proceedings on 29 January 2008 under Article 226 EC (now Article 258 TFEU) giving the United Kingdom formal notice to submit its observations.

    The United Kingdom government responded on 1 April 2008 stating that implementation measures were almost complete and that ministerial approval was awaited in relation to the measures that were to apply to Gibralter. It then notified the Commission on 21 April 2008 of the existence of the Sex Discrimination (Amendment of Legislation) Regulations 2008, applicable in Great Britain and Northern Ireland but failed to initiate implementing regulations applicable to Gibralter.

    On 23 September 2008, the Commission issued a reasoned opinion calling upon the United Kingdom to fully implement the Directive within two months from the date of the reasoned opinion.

    On 18 November 2008, five days before the deadline set by the Commission, the United Kingdom responded that it expected the Government of Gibralter to have the legislation in place by the end of 2008.

    The Commission then brought the case before the Court of Justice. The UK submitted in its defence that it had not fully implemented the Directive into domestic law and expected that those provisions relating to Gibralter would be in place at the end of 2009.

    The Court of Justice pointed out that it was settled law that the question of whether a member state had failed to discharge its obligations was determined at the end of the period set down in the reasoned opinion and could not take account of measures a member state had taken after that date. The authority was paragraph 31 of its judgement of 8 May 2008 in Commission v Portugal case 233/07 and paragraph 9 of its judgement 3 September 2009 in Commission v United Kingdom case 527/09.

    Accordingly, the action brought by the Commission was well founded and that The United Kingdom was in breach of its obligations under the Directive.

    Again, on 4 February 2010, in Commission v United Kingdom [2010] case 259/09, the Kingdom was once more found guilty of a failure to transpose and a failure to transpose into domestic law the requirements of Directives 2004/35/EC and 2006/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to the management of waste from extractive industries.

    Under Article 25(1) of Directive 2006/21/EC Member States were required to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the directive before 1 May 2008 and to inform the Commission forthwith thereof. In addition, when Member States adopt these measures, they must contain a reference to the directive or be accompanied by such a reference on their official publication, the methods of making such reference being laid down by the Member States.

    Since the United Kingdom had failed to notify the Commission of its implementing measures, the Commission presumed that transposition had not taken place within the period prescribed and commenced infringement proceedings under the first paragraph of Article 226 EC (now Article 258 TFEU).

    On 23 May 2008, the Commission wrote a formal letter to the United Kingdom Government instructing it to submit its observations within two months of receipt of the letter. The government replied on 22 July 2008, one day before expiry of the deadline set, that Directive 2006/21/EC was expected to come into effect in England and Wales at the end of 2008 and in Northern Ireland at the end of 2009. The Government stated that it would not come into effect in Gibralter since there were no mines and quarries there to which the Directive could apply.

    On 1 December 2008, the Commission then issued its reasoned opinion calling for compliance with that opinion within two months. The United Kingdom then communicated to the Commission that it had not been possible to bring forward all of the legislation required to give effect to the entirety of Directive 2006/21/EC. Accordingly, the Commission brought the United Kingdom before the Court of Justice.

    The United Kingdom acknowledged the breach of its obligations. It stated that Ditrective 2006/21/EC had been fully implemented in England and Wales on 12 August 2009, that it would be fully implemented in Scotland and Northern Ireland shortly and expected to be fully in force in Gibralter by 31 October 2009.

    Once again, the court reiterated that the question whether a Member State has failed to fulfil its obligations must be determined by reference to the situation obtaining in the Member State at the end of the period laid down in the reasoned opinion and the Court cannot take account of any subsequent changes (see, inter alia, Case C-161/02 Commission v France [2003] ECR I-6567, paragraph 9, and Case C 135/05 Commission v Italy [2007] ECR I 3475, paragraph 36).

    The action by the Commission being well founded, the United Kingdom was found to be in breach of its obligations under Directive 2006/21/EC.

    In both of these cases, the judgements were delivered without an opinion by the Advocate General and in both cases, the United Kingdom was found liable for the costs in bringing the action.

    Should the United Kingdom, following these two judgements, remain in breach of their obligations the Commission will invoke Article 260 TFEU (ex Article 228 EC) to bring the United Kingdom back before the Court of Justice which may result in a lump sum or penalty payment of an amount that the Commission considers appropriate in the circumstances.
  2. Original poster, what's your opinion of this?
  3. Errr, what does this mean in English please


    What relevance does this have to the ARMY RUMOUR SERVICE
    (see the other thread running about ARRSE dying on its ARRSE or such)

    If none may I suggest that the EU **** off and can we get back to green and black stuff (drab olive sorry)

  4. It’s just funny when Countries like France just ignore the Laws or say “this as a matter of internal security which falls outside of EU agreement”. That was used when they failed to privatise public transport. We are one of the few countries that just blindly enact stupid law regardless of the consequences, hands up all those that want to leave the EU. :cheers:
  5. It is noticeable that the United Kingdom has, in both cases waited until the very last minute of a deadline to respond to the Commission to tell it why it has not complied with its lawful obligation set out in both directives and in the Treaties. The Government gives no reasonable excuse why it delays in both cases.

    While a certain degree of publicity is given to the United Kingdom's breaches of Human Rights when it is hauled before the European Court of Human Rights, virtually no publicity at all is given to its breaches of EU law. If the former is a useful means of subjecting the United Kingdom to a moral scrutiny when it fails to observe basic standards of protection against abuses of human rights, it is indeed strange that no similar public scrutiny is given to it when it disregards the rule of law.
  6. I agree with your comments regarding the French Republic. Prior to Maastrich, the only sanction for a defaulting state's failure to observe its obligations was being hauled before the court with an adverse finding made against them, as in the two cases against the United Kingdom above. It was because the French Republic simply ignored adverse judgements and shrugged its shoulderrs that the Treaty was altered to impose hefty financial penalties, some of which run into several million Euros which now compels even the most reluctant of the member states, France included, to toe the line and adhere to secondary legislation originating from the EU institutions.
  7. Unless they have a good excuse see above the Frogs are experts at it we just fork out the cash, it is all fair just a bit fairer to some than others.