Spain doesn’t follow the rules says EU

WHEN it comes to following the rules, Spain comes bottom of the list according to the European Union.

It is the country with the most ongoing cases (97) for failing to comply with EU rules or not applying them correctly, followed by Germany (80) and Belgium (79). Best behaved, with the fewest cases, are Estonia (27), Denmark and Finland (32 each), according to a report published by the European Commission.

If we go into detail, 48 of the cases in the case of Spain are due to the bad or incorrect implementation of European standards, 36 to their late application and 13 for violating European standards.

In the latter case, the countries with the highest number of open infringements for non-compliance with EU rules are Italy (22), Belgium (21) and France (18), while the countries with the lowest number of open infringements are Finland and Estonia, which have only three open cases each on their part.

At the end of 2018, there were a total of 1,571 cases opened against governments for non-compliance or incorrect application of European rules, 0.8 per cent more than the previous year (1,559). Environment, transport and mobility, internal market and industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs are the areas most affected.

The Community Executive opened 664 new files in 2018, the majority in relation to the internal market, entrepreneurship and SMEs (101), mobility and transport (97) and environment (73).

The Commission also sent Spain the highest number of reasoned opinions across the EU, 19 out of 157.

These are the last warning for a country to make the required changes before taking the case to the EU Court of Justice, which decided 32 cases in 2018. In all but one case it ruled in favour of the Commission, while one case was won by Denmark.

Spain lost three cases in 2018 before the European Court of Justice, as did Germany, Greece and Austria. Only Poland lost more cases (4).

As regards citizens’ complaints against countries received by the European Commission, Spain is in second place, with the highest number of citizens’ complaints (486), only behind Italy (633).

The majority of complaints filed by citizens against Spain relate to justice and consumer protection (142), employment (99) and the environment (57), according to the report.

In total, Brussels received 3,850 new complaints in 2018, the highest number since 2014. The majority were related to justice and consumption (943), the internal market (627) and employment and social affairs (487).

Spain is also the country with the highest number of open infringements of the rules applicable to the internal market, according to another report on the application of internal market rules in the European Economic Area.

Spain has 52 pending cases – 11 of them new – more than double the average and the same as in 2014.

The most problematic sectors are the environment (20 cases, half in relation to waste management and water protection and management) and transport (eight cases, half in relation to air transport).

Half of the Spanish cases have been open for a long time, including one for more than 13 years on air transport, another on air pollution, which has been open for 10 years and another 22 between three and eight years.

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