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Νew rules for financial sanctions in infringement cases and Brexit

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op woensdag 20 februari 2019.

Commission adapts its calculation methodology for financial sanctions in infringement proceedings and discusses the progress made on the Commission's “no deal” Brexit contingency proposals

Calculation methodology for financial sanctions in infringement proceedings

Today, the Commission set out how it will adapt its calculation method when proposing financial sanctions to the Court of Justice of the EU in infringement proceedings. Enforcement of EU law by the Commission will continue to be vigorous, balanced and fair to all Member States.

When the Commission refers a Member State to the Court of Justice of the EU for having infringed EU law, the Court may, in certain situations, impose financial sanctions. The Commission proposes an amount to the Court, which then takes the final decision.

When calculating the proposed financial sanction, in addition to the seriousness of the infringement and its duration, the Commission has always taken into account both the economic situation of the Member State concerned, and its institutional weight. In order to translate those two elements into a number, the Commission has until now looked at the gross domestic product (GDP) of a Member State and the number of votes allocated to it in the Council.

In a recent judgment, the Court of Justice considered that the Council voting rules as changed by the Lisbon Treaty could no longer be used for this purpose. Since the Commission believes that, in addition to relying on the Member States' GDP, the institutional weight should continue to be taken into account, a new method of reflecting that weight was needed.

For this purpose, the Commission will in the future use the number of seats for representatives in the European Parliament allocated to each Member State. This will lead to amounts that do not create unjustified differences between Member States and stay as close as possible to the amounts resulting from the current calculation method, which are both proportionate and sufficiently deterring.

Once the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU becomes legally effective, and irrespective of whether the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force or not, the Commission will recalculate the relevant averages and will adjust the figures as set out in this Communication accordingly.

Progress made on Brexit “no-deal” contingency legislation

The College of Commissioners was today briefed by the Secretary-General Martin Selmayr and discussed the progress made on the Commission's contingency proposals for the undesirable but possible situation of a “no deal” Brexit. Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator for Article 50 negotiations, updated the College on the latest state of play of the ongoing discussions with the UK government.

To date, the Commission has tabled 19 legislative proposals, on which good progress has been made in the European Parliament and the Council. 7 proposals have been adopted or agreed by the Parliament and the Council. 12 proposals are still to be finalised by the co-legislators, and are advancing well. In addition to this, several non-legislative acts have been adopted, including 10 delegated acts, 6 implementing acts, as well as 3 Commission decisions. All texts are available here.

As outlined in the Commission's previous Brexit Preparedness Communications, the EU's contingency measures will not - and cannot - mitigate the overall impact of a "no-deal" scenario, nor do they in any way compensate for the lack of preparedness or replicate the full benefits of EU membership or the favourable terms of any transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement. These proposals are temporary in nature, limited in scope and will be adopted unilaterally by the EU. They are not “mini-deals” and have not been negotiated with the UK. In addition to this legislative work, the Commission has also intensified its work on proactively informing the public about the importance of preparing for a “no-deal” Brexit. The Commission has published 88 preparedness notices, along with 3 detailed Brexit Preparedness Communications. The Commission also stepped up its “no-deal” outreach to EU businesses this week in the area of customs and indirect taxation. The Commission continues to hold technical discussions with the EU27 Member States both on general issues of preparedness and contingency work and on specific sectorial, legal and administrative preparedness issues. Between January and March 2019, the Commission's Deputy Secretary-General, Céline Gauer, and a team of Commission officials are visiting the capitals of the 27 EU Member States to provide any necessary clarifications on the Commission's preparedness and contingency action and to discuss national preparations and contingency plans. Today they are in Latvia. The visits so far have shown a high degree of preparation by Member States for all scenarios.

Trilogue negotiations

The College reviewed progress made in delivering on the priorities and promises made at the beginning of this Commission's mandate, with 15 agreements concluded so far between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission.

Related links

Communication on modification of the calculation method for lump sum payments and daily penalty payments (20 February 2019)

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