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Firearms: Commission refers LUXEMBOURG to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to transpose EU rules on acquisition and possession of firearms

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op donderdag 23 september 2021.

Today, the Commission has decided to refer Luxembourg to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to notify the national measures necessary to transpose EU rules on the acquisition and possession of firearms. The Commission has also decided to request the Court to order the payment of financial penalties.

The Firearms Directive (Directive (EU) 2021/555) sets common minimum standards on the acquisition, possession, and commercial exchange of civilian firearms, for example firearms used for sport shooting and hunting. The rules allow for the lawful use and movement of firearms while preventing firearms from falling into the wrong hands, therefore helping to break the business models of criminals and combat organised crime.

Today's referral covers a set of provisions introduced in the 2017 revision of the directive that Member States were required to transpose by 14 September 2018. These include notably new rules on the activities of dealers and brokers, changes to the rules on marking and stricter rules concerning the most dangerous firearms. These also include an update on the European Firearms Pass, rules affecting some alarm and signal weapons as well as salute and acoustic weapons, which could easily be converted into lethal firearms, and new rules on deactivated firearms.

The Commission launched this infringement procedure against Luxembourg in November 2018 by sending a letter of formal notice and followed up with a reasoned opinion in July 2019. To date, Luxembourg still has not notified the Commission of the full transposition of the Directive into its national law.

Background

By failing to adopt all the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Firearms Directive (Directive (EU) 2021/555) or, in any event, by failing to notify such provisions to the Commission, Luxembourg has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 26 of this Directive.

In practice, under Article 260(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), if a Member State fails to transpose a Directive adopted by the European Parliament and the Council into national law within the required deadline, the Commission may call on the Court of Justice of the European Union to impose financial sanctions. They take into account:

  • the seriousness of the infringement,
  • the duration of the infringement,
  • a special "n" factor (which varies between Member States and takes into account their Gross domestic product, GDP, in millions of euros and number of seats of the Member State concerned in the European Parliament).

The financial sanctions proposed by the Commission in this case consist of a lump sum (to penalise the existence of the infringement itself) and a daily penalty payment (to penalise the continuation of the infringement after the Court's judgment).

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