The Infringement Procedure

When a Member State fails to fulfil obligations under the Treaties, both the Commission under Article 258 TFEU and the other Member States under Article 259 TFEU may formally bring actions against that State before the Court of Justice. If a Member State wants to sue another Member State, it must first bring the matter

COM(2012) 95 final. The basic environmental problems and implementation shortcomings have been the same in the past fifteen years despite extensive legislation.

  • 22 [1991] OJ L 377/48. 23 Kramer EU Environmental Law (n 20) 398.
  • 24 See, eg, Report from the Commission—Monitoring the application of Union law 2014 Annual Report (9 July 2015) COM(2015) 329 final.
  • 25 For further information on IMPEL and its work, visit (visited 18 December 2015).

to the Commission, which shall deliver a reasoned opinion after the States concerned have submitted their cases and their observations on the other party’s case. In practice, Member States rarely avail themselves of this opportunity. To the extent they have an interest in the matter, they try instead to have the Commission conduct the process. It is, as we have seen, the Commission’s task to monitor the application of Union law.

Individuals can only under very specific conditions bring an action before the Court. Instead, they may plead before a national court and hope that court finds it necessary to seek a ruling from the Court of Justice. This will be discussed in more detail in the section on individuals’ right to bring an action and on preliminary rulings of the Court. Individuals can also submit their complaint to the Commission, which in turn may bring proceedings against the Member State.

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