Croatia on Thursday received three letters of formal notice from the European Commission for failure to comply with its obligations under EU law. The letters were issued as part of the Commission's monthly package of infringement decisions.
Croatia, along with Denmark, Sweden, Greece, Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal and Slovenia, was urged to bring its national legislation in line with the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, which ensures that the impact on the environment of public and private projects is assessed before they are authorised.
New Croatian legislation introduces a specific procedure for authorisation of projects for exploitation of gravel and sand by extraction from renewable deposits in watercourses and other surface water bodies. The Commission considers that the legislation constitutes a flagrant breach of the environmental assessments' provisions in the Habitats Directive, the Water Framework Directive and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, as the legislation entails that certain projects for exploitation of gravel and sand are excluded from requirements for assessing water status and environmental impacts of such exploitation.
The member states concerned were given two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission, otherwise the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
The second letter of formal notice was addressed to Croatia and 12 other member states for failing to implement EU rules on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.
The Commission decided to launch infringement procedures against 13 member states for the incorrect implementation of the Directive into national law. The member states concerned have two months to respond to the Commission.
The third letter of formal notice concerns safety requirements for tunnels. It was sent to Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy and Spain for not complying with the Directive setting out minimum safety measures relating to the infrastructure and operation of tunnels. It applies to all tunnels in the trans-European road network, with lengths of over 500 metres.
The member states concerned have not implemented the full set of required infrastructural measures to ensure the highest safety standards in certain tunnels falling within this scope. They were given two months to notify the Commission of measures taken to remedy this situation, otherwise the Commission may adopt reasoned opinions.
The EU infringement procedure includes three steps: sending a letter of formal notice, sending a reasoned opinion and, if the Commission is not satisfied, referring the case to the Court of the EU.