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Cyprus could face fines after failing to comply with EU directives

Cyprus is with its back against the wall after failing to comply with five different EU directives. The country must now either show to the EU Commission within two months that it has complied with the directives or potentially face the European Court of Justice where it could be fined.

The Commission has for now notified Cyprus in the form of “reasoned opinions” which lay out the directives and explain their purpose.

Agriculture and Rural Development

The Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to Cyprus, Italy and the United Kingdom as they failed to communicate national transposition measures to the Commission on marketing standards for certain milk products, namely caseins and caseinates (Directive (EU) 2015/2203). The labelling rules laid out in this Directive aims at providing a high level of protection of health, aligning EU legislation on food with international standards and facilitating the free movement of these products by food business operators. Member States had to transpose the Directive into national legislation and inform the Commission of such measures by 22 December 2016. Caseins, which are found in milk and can be used independently in many industries as a binding agent, have a wide variety of uses, from being a major component of cheese, to use as a food additive. Caseinates provide important nutritional properties, contain all of the essential amino acids and are used notably in cheese-making, in protein supplements and in coffee creamer powders.

Competition

The European Commission has requested Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia, Malta and Portugal to fully implement the Directive on antitrust damages actions (Directive 2014/104/EU) into national law. This Directive helps citizens and companies claim damages if they are victims of infringements of EU antitrust rules, such as cartels or abuses of dominant market positions. Among other things, it gives victims easier access to evidence they need to prove the damage suffered and more time to make their claims. The Directive on antitrust damages actions is therefore an essential part of EU competition law enforcement. Member States were under an obligation to implement it into national law by 27 December 2016.

Radio equipment

The Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to Cyprus, Greece and the United Kingdom calling on them to transpose the Directive on radio equipment (RED, Directive 2014/53/EU). The RED Directive defines the essential requirements on health and safety, electromagnetic compatibility and efficient use of radio spectrum and provides the basis for further regulation on emergency calls, interoperability and safeguards for the protection of privacy and personal data. It also sets out procedures to be applied and obligations to be met before radio equipment can be placed on the EU internal market and enhances market surveillance. Member States should have fully transposed the Directive into their national legislation by 12 June 2016. Greece and the United Kingdom have not yet communicated to the Commission the transposition of this Directive into their national law, whereas Cyprus has communicated only partial transposition.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

The Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus Finland and Greece for failure to notify complete transposition into their national legislation of the EU rules establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning (MSP; Directive 2014/89/EU). Member States had to transpose the Directive into national legislation and inform the Commission of such measures by 18 September 2016. Competition for maritime space – for renewable energy equipment, fishing and aquaculture, tourism, raw material extraction, sea transport routes and other uses – has highlighted the need to manage European waters more coherently. MSP works across borders and sectors to ensure human activities at sea take place in an efficient, safe and sustainable way as well as to meet various ecological, economic and social objectives. The Directive sets down EU countries’ common approach and minimum requirements to the planning of maritime areas.

Taxation and Customs Union

The Commission has decided to send reasoned opinions to Bulgaria, Cyprus and Portugal as these Member States have failed to communicate the transposition of new measures on the automatic exchange of tax rulings between EU tax authorities (Council Directive (EU) 2015/2376). Member States were supposed to transpose these measures by 31 December 2016. The new rules are designed to help clamp down on cross-border tax avoidance, aggressive tax planning and harmful tax competition and the first exchange of information between all EU tax authorities is supposed to take place by this September. The Commission has set the 3 countries a deadline of two months to reply. In the absence of a satisfactory reply, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.

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