The European Commission decided to refer Greece, Luxembourg and Romania to the Court of Justice of the EU on Friday for failing to transpose into national law Directive 2012/34/EU establishing a single European railway area.
The Directive aims at strengthening the role of national rail regulatory bodies, in particular as regards their competence for rail facilities, such as terminals and stations. It requires Member States to base their relations with infrastructure managers on multi-annual contracts setting out mutual obligations as regards the structure of payment and the infrastructure service quality to be provided to railway undertakings. This Directive also contains requirements for financial transparency so that railway undertakings and infrastructure managers keep and publish separate accounts and control financial flows.
Member States had to bring into force the measures necessary to comply with the Directive by June 16, 2015. As Greece, Luxembourg and Romania failed to do so, the Commission sent these Member States a letter of formal notice in July 2015 followed by a reasoned opinion in February 2016. Given that national transposition measures have not yet been adopted, the Commission has decided to refer these Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU.
On the basis of the procedure set out in Article 260(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Commission will request the Court of Justice to impose a daily penalty payment on Greece, Luxembourg and Romania until the law is fully transposed into national legislation. The Commission proposes daily penalty payments of €30,310.80 for Greece, €8,710,00 for Luxembourg and €29,091.40 for Romania.
Source: European Commission
Since the publication of Directive 2012/34/EU in December 2012, the Commission has adopted a series of implementing acts. The non-transposition of the Directive can fragment the internal market and hamper the coherent applications of the secondary acts adopted under it.
In case there is no transposition of the Directive or the transposition of the latter is incomplete, the Court of Justice may pronounce a penalty payment from the date of the delivery of the judgment or from an another date set by the Court itself, until the transposition of the Directive is complete. The Court remains free to set the penalty payment to be imposed in an amount and in a form that the Court considers appropriate for the purposes of inducing the Member State to bring to an end its failure to comply with the obligations arising under the Directive, but the Court cannot exceed the amount specified by the Commission. The penalty payment is calculated based on a formula, where the following elements are multiplied:
– seriousness factor;
– duration of the infringement;
– “n” factor (which varies between Member States and takes into account their Gross Domestic Products, GDP);
– a flat-rate amount, which is set at €670 per day.