Article 258, 259, 260. EU Enforcement.


marcus cleaver

This all relates to TFEU

what are the advantages and disadvantages of the coursework

EU calls this infringement procedure

what is the purpose of these articles?

it must be enforceable — anything in law must be

same for criminal

TEU article 4 (3) ”member states shall take any appropriate measures …. to ensure the fulfilment of obligattions arising out of the treaties.”

these articles in TFEU are about that

the purpose is to make contracts enforceable.

article 258 – commission brings enforcement against a state

article 259 – where a member state brings and enforcement action

article 260 article  – addenda to the foregoing. fines system

gives procedure teeth.


informal inquiry starts procedure

we think you have breached EU law. Can we sort this out and reach an amicable conclusion? Can be resolved without a court action. 95% of cases are solved at this stage

saves money

does not waste time by going to court and involving lawyers and judges

sometimes that is impossible

then a letter is sent to the member state and the state is accused and told to sort it out

member state can admit it or dispute it

the member state must respond within 2 months

the reasoned opinion is thhe next stage. sets out legal and factual basis for case

commission takes into account the accusation and then the response

commission tries to come to a coonclusion about whether there has been a breach and if so what it was

that is th

judicial procedure is under article 260

onus of proof is on commission not defendant

defences mounted by member states tend not to work

article 258 — court issues a judgement

only 2 article 259 cases ever. these call fall out between countries

France banned British beef. UK brought a case against France

commission tends to take over article 259 cases. countries sometimes start cases and then commission takes over

complaint by member states.

reply from respondent

defending member states’ submission is seen by commission. commission might issue a reasoned opinion or not

a decision will be reached

if there has been a breach of EU law.

article 260 fine on a state in breach

no reasoned opinion as per article 258

potential response from a member state within 2 months

ECJ hears the case

the state has breached EU law. the question for the court is the amount of the fine

court can issue a penalty payment or impose a lump sum

take into account basic rate . 670 Euros. multiplied by severity of infringement

multiply it by up to 20

multiply by duration of the breach between 1 and 3

then multiplied by anything between 0.35 and 21 – based on GDP

Population is also taken into account. UK’s N factor is 19



most cases are resolved informally


fines act as a deterrent

articles 278, article 279  complement the process

what are the alternatives to articles 258 and 259

individuals can make complaints

countries negotiate with EU as to how they shall implement EU law

procedure ends up with ECJ making a judgment

fine system is effectual

article 278 and 279 are interim procedures

if a case takes a long time to go to court – these articles suspend the law while the case is sub judice



defences seldom work

defence that works – there has been no breach

Re Tacographs. Commission v UK. this was due to strikes. It was beyond government’s control. the UK Goverment was still found guilty

individuals are excluded but may be able to use direct effect

commission has limited resources

van Gend en Loos 1963

commission also has much discretion on proceding to the judicial stage

after reasoned opinion the commission can discontinue the case. if they lack resources or think the breach is minor

they can choose not to investigate. Staff route case

the commission is not obliged to investigate

commission v France. 1971. commission left it a long time before pursuing it

Commission v Netherlands 1991. if commission leaves it too long then it is unfair to prosecute

look at resources . The Enforcement of EU Law. (2012). OUP. Stine Anderson








About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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