The European Commission has sent four reasoned opinions to Cyprus, one step before the case could be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union, in its infringement package for May.
These reasoned opinions deal with the transposition of the directive on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants and of EU rules on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources set out in Directive.
Another two reasoned opinions concern the country’s failure to notify the Commission of transposition measures on copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmissions and in the Digital Single Market.
The May infringement procedure also includes a reference to an infringement case against Cyprus which has been open since February, when the Commission sent a letter of formal notice (the first stage of the process) for not correctly transposing to national legislation the EU rules on the fight against fraud on the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law.
Limitation of emissions of pollutants from medium combustion plants
The Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion to Cyprus (INFR(2021)2089), asking the country to correctly transpose the Directive on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants (Directive (EU) 2015/2193) into national legislation.
Medium combustion plants are used for a wide variety of applications including electricity generation, domestic or residential heating and cooling, and providing heat or steam for industrial processes. They represent a significant source of emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and dust, thus contributing to air pollution.
The European Green Deal, with its Zero Pollution ambition, puts emphasis on cutting air pollution, which is among the key factors negatively affecting human health. The Directive had to be fully transposed into national law by 19 December 2017. In September 2021, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Cyprus on the matter.
Cyprus has now two months to respond and take the necessary measures. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
Cyprus is also one of ten countries to which the Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion for not having fully transposed EU rules on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources set out in Directive (EU) 2018/2001.
The Commission is sending a reasoned opinion to Cyprus (INFR(2021)0169) as well as to Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Romania.
This directive provides the legal framework for the development of renewable energy in electricity, heating and cooling and transport in the EU. It sets an EU-level binding target for 2030 of at least 32% renewable energy and includes measures to ensure support for renewable energy is cost-effective, and to simplify administrative procedures for renewable energy projects.
The directive also facilitates the participation of citizens in the energy transition, and sets specific targets to increase the share of renewables in the heating and cooling and transport sectors by 2030. Furthermore, it strengthens criteria to ensure the sustainability of bioenergy. The deadline to transpose the Directive into national law was 30 June 2021.
In July 2021, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to all these Member States. To date, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and Romania have failed to provide to the Commission clear and precise information in relation to which national provisions transpose each provision of the Directive. At the same time, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, and Luxembourg have only partially notified national measures transposing the Directive.
They now have two months to comply with the transposition obligation and notify the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Copyright in online transmissions and the Digital Single Market
The Commission has also sent reasoned opinions to multiple member states, including Cyprus, over their failure to notify of transposition measures on copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmissions (EU Directive 2019/789) as well as to copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market (Directive (EU) 2019/790).
Cyprus received two reasoned opinions (INFR 2021/0172 and INFR 2021/0173), along with Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.
These two Directives aim to modernise copyright rules for consumers and creators to make the most of the digital world. They protect rightholders from different sectors, stimulating the creation and circulation of more high-value content. They bring greater choice of content for users by lowering transaction costs and facilitating the distribution of radio and television programmes across the EU.
Member States must enact these rules without further delays, this will allow EU citizens, the creative sectors, the press, researchers, educators and cultural heritage institutions as well as service providers across the EU to start benefiting from them.
On 23 July 2021, the Commission opened the infringement procedure by sending letters of formal notice to the Member States that did not communicate complete transposition of the two Directives. The Commission today followed up with reasoned opinions.
These Member States now have two months to remedy the situation and adopt national transposing measures for both directives. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Pending letter of formal notice on protection of EU budget from fraud
The May infringement package also contains a reminder that Cyprus is one of several member states that have received a letter of formal notice because they did not correctly transpose the EU rules on the fight against fraud on the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law (Directive (EU) 2017/1371).
The reminder comes in the context of the Commission’s decision to send letters of formal notice to Estonia, Hungary, Malta and the Netherlands. Today's decision follows other letters of formal notice sent to Croatia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania and Spain in December 2021; and Belgium, Cyprus, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden in February 2022. The Commission has also decided to close the infringement case opened against Austria in September 2019.
These rules, which are part of the Commission's broader anti-fraud strategy, protect the EU's budget by harmonising the definitions, sanctions, jurisdiction rules and limitation periods related to fraud and other offences affecting the EU's financial interests.