General aspects of the infringement procedure

AuthorRoxana-Mariana Popescu
PositionPhD candidate, Legislative Council
Beatrice Onica Jarka
Roxana-Mariana POPESCU*
Each Member State is responsible for the implementation of EU law (adoption of
implementing measures before a specified deadline, conformity and correct application) within its
own legal system. The infringement procedure is one of the enforcement mechanisms that can be
applied by the Commission against a Member State whenever the Commission is of the opinion
that the Member State is in breach of its obligations under EU law. Is a procedure with which the
European Commission fulfils one of its most fundamental duties, that is supervision of the
implementation of the acquis. The infringement procedure can be initiated ex o fficio, following a
proposal from a Member State or from a person reporting the infringement, be it a legal or a
natural person.
Keywords: infringement procedure; EU law; European Commission; Member State; acquis.
In the context of EU accession, Member States have assumed their obligation to integrate in
their own legal order, the legal rules of the European Union. “In this regard, each Member State
must take measures to make sure that EU legal rule can be applied in the internal law, to ensure the
compliance of internal rules with EU legal rules and also to apply them correctly”1. The Treaty
establishing the European Community provides various mechanisms for ensuring compliance with
the law of the European Union, mechanisms that include legal proceedings initiated, generally by
the European Commission and, in particular, we can say, by a Member State.
Since Member States have assumed a number of obligations, including those relating to the
correct and complete compliance and enforcement of EU law in the internal law, by expressing
their consent to become parties establishing treaties of the European Communities and the
European Union, naturally, these obligations must be fulfilled. Otherwise, the Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishes a procedure by which states are held
responsible, namely, the procedure for infringement by Member States of their obligations under
EU law, which is specific to EU law and is regulated in Article 258, TFEU2.
As “guardian of treaties”, the European Commission shall ensure the implementation and
correct application of EU law into the internal law of Member States, and, under certain
circumstances, it can bring to the Court of Justice, an action against a Member State, if it finds that
the State has not fulfilled its obligations, under the treaties.
This action of finding the infringement of obligations is, according to the doctrine3, the “special
control instrument specific to the Commission, within its powers in relation to Member States, as
expression of the existing dualism between Member States and institutions of the European Union.
Through this mechanism of action for finding infringements of treaties, the Commission makes
* PhD candidate, Legislative Council.
1 Monica Elena Otel, “The Procedure for the action of finding obligations infringement, by Member States,
under the EC Treaty and EU environmental law”, the Romanian Community Law Magazine, no. 2 / 2006, p. 55.
2 V.n. Art. 226 TEC.
3 Fabian Gyula, “Community Institutional Law”, Third edition revised and enlarged with references to the
Treaty of Lisbon, Legal Sphere Publishing House, Cluj-Napoca, 2008, p. 359 ff.

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