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March infringements package

The Commission has, in its monthly package of infringements, taken 98 decisions, including 11 reasoned opinions and 8 referrals to the European Union’s Court of Justice.

The Commission has referred Belgium to the Court of Justice for refusing to recognize mobile workers’ documents certifying that they pay social security in another Member State. According to the Commission the current rules in Belgium, which allows the authorities not to recognize such documents and unilaterally subject such workers to Belgian social security, are in breach with EU law. The European Commission is referring Hungary to the Court for failing to transpose the Energy Efficiency Directive. Under this directive EU Member States must meet certain energy savings targets from 1 January 2014 until 31 December 2020. The European Commission is taking Germany to Court over its failure to apply the requirements of the Habitats Directive in relation to the authorization of a coal power plant in Hamburg/Moorburg as the power plant may have a negative impact on a number of protected fish species. The Commission it also taking United Kingdom to Court on two separate cases. Firstly, over its failure to ensure that urban waste water is adequately treated in 17 agglomerations as Member States need adequate collection and treatment systems for urban waste water, as untreated water poses risks to human health, inland waters and the marine environment. Secondly, due to the absence of a reduction in emissions by the Aberthaw coal-fired power station in Wales. Emissions for nitrogen oxides (NOx), at the power station were found to exceed the permissible limits. Greece is also referred to the Court on two cases. Firstly, regarding its inheritance taxation of bequests to non-profit organizations in another EU Member State or EEA State. The Commissions argues that the Greek legislation treats legacies bestowed on certain non-profit entities established in Greece more favorably than those bestowed on similar entities established in other EU/EEA States. Secondly, regarding its inheritance tax exemption for primary residences which is applicable only to EU nationals permanently residing in Greece. The Greek legislation favors exclusively those taxpayers (heirs) who already live in Greece and who typically are Greek nationals, according to the Commission.

The Commission is yet again referring Slovenia to the Court of Justice. In this case for its failure to comply with the requirements of EU waste legislation. The case concerns an illegal landfill in Lovrenc na Dravskem polju, where more than 40 000 tons of waste have been stored since 2006. Large fires broke out at this location in 2007 and 2008. According to the Commission the Landfill in question is not operating in accordance to EU waste legislation and can pose a threat to human health and the environment. Furthermore, the site is particularly ill-suited for landfill, due to the close vicinity of a high-voltage electricity power line, and the fact that the area contains one of the biggest sources of fresh water in the country. While Slovenia has already agreed to address the problem and clean up the waste tyres, but the very slow rate of progress has led the Commission to call Slovenia before the Court of Justice.



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