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European Commission to seek legal action against Cyprus over nine infringements

January 24, 2019 at 4:39pm

Cyprus is among several EU member states facing legal action from the European Commission for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law.

The European Commission’s actions relate to employment, energy, environment, data protection and money laundering among others.

Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Free movement of workers: Commission requests Cyprus to notify full transposition of the rules on supplementary pension rights for mobile workers

The European Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to Cyprus, for failing to notify the full transposition of EU rules on supplementary pension rights (the Pensions Portability Directive, Directive 2014/50/EU) into national law.

The Directive lays down minimum requirements on the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights. This Directive is important to promote labour mobility by safeguarding mobile workers’ supplementary pension rights.

In April 2014, Member States agreed to transpose this Directive and communicate national transposition measures to the Commission by May 2018. The Commission has already sent a letter of formal notice to Cyprus countries in July 2018.

Cyprus replied that the transposition process was underway. As the Commission has still not received notification of full transposition, it has now decided to send a reasoned opinion. If Cyprus fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Energy

Energy efficiency

The European Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to Cyprus formally requesting the correct transposition the Energy Efficiency Directive (Directive 2012/27/EU) into national law.

The 2012 Directive establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the EU in order to ensure the achievement of the EU’s 20% energy efficiency target for 2020 and to pave the way for further energy efficiency improvements beyond that date. Under the Directive, all EU countries are required to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain, from production to final consumption.

Cyprus now has two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission. If it does not act within those two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion to their authorities.

Environment

Biodiversity: Commission urges Cyprus to protect the environment against invasive alien species

The European Commission is calling on Cyprus to step up its implementation of the EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species (Regulation No 1143/2014).

Invasive alien species are plants and animals that become established in areas outside their natural range, spreading rapidly and out-competing native species, with severe economic and environmental consequences. After the law entered into force on 1 January 2015, Member States had to introduce dissuasive penalties, and Member States with outermost regions had to adopt specific lists of invasive alien species for those territories and inform the Commission accordingly.

Cyprus has failed to notify the Commission about their penalties, or about lists of invasive alien species for outermost regions, or both. The Commission has, therefore, decided to Cyprus a letter of formal notice giving the country two months to reply; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

Investor compensation: Commission calls on Cyprus to enact correctly national rules to comply with EU law

The Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to Cyprus over failure to implement correctly EU rules on investor-compensation schemes (Directive 97/9/EC).

The Directive, adopted in 1997, protects investors by providing compensation if an investment firm fails to return the investor’s assets. Claims under the Directive typically arise if there is fraud or other administrative malpractice or when an investment firm is unable to fulfil its obligations as a result of operational errors.

The Commission has concerns that the Cypriot authorities have failed to determine the firms’ inability to meet investors’ claims and pay compensation to investors following the establishment of claims without unreasonable delays. If Cyprus does not act within the next two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion on this matter.

Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Public procurement: Commission urges Cyprus to comply with public procurement and concessions rules

The Commission decided today to send letters of formal notice to Cyprus regarding the conformity of its national legislation with EU rules on public procurement and concessions.

The new rules (Directive 2014/24/EUDirective 2014/25/EU and Directive 2014/23/EU) had to be transposed by Member States into national law by 18 April 2016.

Today’s letters are the result of a compliance check conducted by the Commission to see whether the transposed national rules comply with the EU Directives.

The same assessment is being undertaken or will be carried out for the remainder of Member States, where transposition was completed with important delays (see cases referred to the Court of Justice of the EU). Cyprus has two months to reply to the arguments put forward by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to follow up with the sending of a reasoned opinion.

Commission takes action to ensure professionals and service providers can fully benefit from the EU Single Market for services

The European Commission took infringement decisions concerning 27 Member States to ensure the proper implementation of EU rules on services and professional qualifications.

As highlighted in the Single Market Communication in November 2018, citizens and businesses can only enjoy the many benefits of the Single Market if the rules that have been jointly agreed actually work on the ground.

It sent a a reasoned opinion to Cyprus regarding its specific rules concerning the access to activities of engineers and architects (breach of the Professional Qualifications Directive.

Cyprus now has two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to proceed with the following steps of the infringements procedure. For more information, please refer to the full press release.

Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality

Data protection: Commission urges Cyprus to implement the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive 

The Commission decided today to send reasoned opinions to Cyprus for failing to implement the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/680) and to urge the country to finalise its implementation.

Member States had to transpose the Directive into their national law by 6 May 2018. The Directive protects citizens’ fundamental right to data protection whenever criminal law enforcement authorities for law enforcement purposes use personal data. EU rules ensure that the personal data of victims, witnesses, and suspects of crime are duly protected. The introduction of similar data protection standards facilitates the exchange of personal data for cross-border cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism.

As Cyprus failed to transpose EU rules into national legislation, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to its respective authorities in July 2018. Cyprus now has two months to respond and take the relevant action; otherwise, the cases may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Anti-money laundering: Commission calls on Cyprus to completely transpose EU law fighting money laundering and terrorist financing

The Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Cyprus for failing to completely transpose the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (Directive (EU) 2015/849) into national law.

Despite Cyprus having declared its transposition to be complete, the Commission concluded after assessing the notified measures that some provisions are missing.

Transposing the rules timely and correctly is crucial for an effective fight against money laundering and terrorism financing, as several recent money laundering scandals in the EU have shown. Gaps in one Member State can have an impact on all others. All Member States had to transpose the rules of this Directive by 26 June 2017.

Cyprus now has two months to respond and take the relevant action; otherwise, the European Commission may pursue the next infringement steps.

Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship

Legal migration: Commission calls on Cyprus to implement EU rules on non-EU students and researchers

The Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to Cyprus for failing to communicate national legislation which fully transposes the Directive on the conditions of entry, residence and intra-EU mobility of non EU-nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects, and au pairing (Directive 2016/801).

Member States had until 23 May 2018 to bring their national legislation in line with this Directive and to inform the Commission accordingly. The Commission addressed letters of formal notice to Cyprus in July 2018 and is now following up with reasoned opinions, the second step in an infringement procedure.

Cyprus now has two months to fully transpose the Directive in their national law, otherwise, the Commission may consider referring the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Mobility and Transport

Road transport: Commission requests Cyprus to upgrade its connection of its national electronic register to the new TACHOnet version

The Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Cyprus for failing to upgrade the connection of their respective national registers to the new TACHOnet version (Commission Implementing Regulation 2016/68).

The interconnection and exchange of information between Member States on the electronic registers of driver cards is performed through the TACHOnet messaging system. TACHOnet is composed of a central hub managed by the European Commission and a national system, which includes national electronic registers, managed by Member States. EU countries are, therefore, responsible for the setup and maintenance of their national electronic registers and for guaranteeing the interoperability of the national system with the central hub.

The implementation of a new and enhanced version of TACHOnet requires Member States to adapt their systems at national level. The deadline for establishing an upgraded connection of national electronic registers to TACHOnet expired on 2 March 2018.

If the authorities from Cyprus fail to send a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may decide to refer the above mentioned Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU.

(With information from the European Commission website)