Commission calls on Greece to implement decisions on security, abide by ECJ ruling on nitrates

The European Commission urged Greece on Wednesday to implement a series of provisions on security and comply with a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on nitrates in its October infringements package.

The Commission sent a reasoned opinion to the Greek government for failing to fully implement the Prum Decisions (Council Decisions 2008/615/JHA and 2008/616/JHA).

The Prum Decisions allow member-states to quickly exchange information on DNA, fingerprints and national vehicle registration data and are an important element of the European Agenda on Security.

A letter of formal notice was sent to the Greek authorities in September 2016. Since then Greece has fully implemented the necessary measures as regards the exchange of information on DNA and fingerprints.

“However, an evaluation procedure on the exchange of information on vehicle registration has not been completed yet.
The Commission requested today that Greece quickly finalises the process to full comply with its legal obligations,” the Commission said.

Greece now has two months to reply, after which the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.
In a separate notice, the Commission called on Greece to fully comply with the ruling (C-149/14) delivered by the Court of Justice of the EU on 23 April 2015, which found that Greece had breached its obligations under the Nitrates Directive by failing to establish sufficient vulnerable zones as well as action programs for those zones.

“Despite some progress made since the ruling, Greece has still not established any action programs for the newly designated vulnerable zones. As such, they cannot fulfill the objectives, for which they have been designated, i.e. to protect water bodies from pollution caused by nitrates,” it said.

As two years have passed since the ruling, the Commission sent the letter of formal notice before referring the case back to Court and requesting for financial sanctions to be imposed. Greece now has two months to reply.