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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Failure to fulfil obligations under EU law

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Failure to fulfil obligations under EU law

 

SUMMARY OF:

Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

Article 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

Article 260 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

WHAT IS THE AIM OF ARTICLES 258 TO 260 OF THE TREATY ON THE FUNCTIONING OF THE EUROPEAN UNION?

They set out the legal procedures which must be followed if the European Commission or an EU government considers that a particular EU country is not meeting its treaty obligations.

KEY POINTS

  • Failure to meet EU obligations may be due to:
    • legislative or administrative decisions or practices;
    • positive action (adopting measures contrary to EU law or refusing to repeal any that are);
    • negative action (delays in implementing EU law or failing to inform the Commission of the progress being made).
  • The legal proceedings are:
    • usually brought by the Commission, but may also be initiated by another EU country;
    • directed at the EU country, even if the perceived failings are the responsibility of the government, parliament, federal or subnational bodies.
  • The Commission first asks the EU country concerned to respond to the charges that it is breaking European law. On the basis of its reply, the Commission issues an opinion, either closing the case or setting out the changes the country must make. This process may also be triggered by another EU country referring the matter to the Commission.
  • If the country concerned fails to comply with the Commission’s opinion within the timetable given, the Commission, or another EU country if it initiated the procedure, may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
  • When the Commission refers an EU country to the Court for failure to communicate national measures implementing EU law, it can also ask the Court to impose financial sanctions.
  • The Court of Justice can instruct an EU country it considers is breaking European law to take certain measures.
  • If the Commission believes the country is not complying with the legal ruling, it can refer the case to the Court a second time, recommending the size of fine it considers should be paid.
  • If the Court finds that the judgement is still not being respected, it can impose a lump sum and/or penalty payment.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 160-161)

Article 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 161)

Article 260 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 161)

last update 12.07.2016

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