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EU Law

Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) letters of warning, (b) infringement notices and (c) prosecutions have been instigated by the European Commission against his Department and its predecessor in relation to EU directives since May 1997; and what the reasons for the Commission's action were in each case. (290257)

The European Commission's procedures in relation to formal infringement proceedings against EU member states are based on Article 226 and Article 228 of the treaty establishing the European Community. They provide for a staged approach to infringement action comprising:

Article 226:

(a) Letter putting a member state on formal notice of a possible breach of the EC treaty;

(b) Formal determination, or Reasoned Opinion, by the Commission that a member state is in breach of the treaty; and

(c) Referral to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for a ruling that a member state is in breach.

Article 228:

(a) Letter putting a member state on formal notice of possible failure to comply with a judgment of the ECJ under Article 226;

(b) Reasoned Opinion that a member state has failed to comply with a ECJ judgment under Article 226;

(c) Referral to the ECJ for a ruling that member state is in breach of its treaty obligations and application for a financial penalty.

On this basis, the relevant information in respect of this Department and its predecessors since May 1997 is:

Reasons for Commission's action

Stage

Non-communication1

Non-conformity2

Non-application3

Article 226 Formal Notice

99

11

40

Article 226 Reasoned Opinion

24

6

5

Article 226 ECJ Referral

7

2

6

Article 228 Formal Notice

0

4

3

Article 228 Reasoned Opinion

0

2

2-

Article 228 ECJ Referral

0

0

1

1 Domestic transposition measures are not notified to the Commission on time.

2 Transposition legislation is in some way inadequate.

3 Otherwise timely and technically adequate legislation is alleged to be improperly implemented on the ground.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what transposition date his Department has set in respect of each EU directive relating to the environment which has entered into force since May 1997. (290259)

The analysis required to compile this information from records held by DEFRA would incur disproportionate costs.