The infringement process: how it works

Get the lowdown on the European Commission's process for dealing with possible breaches of EU environmental law

Possible breaches of EU law are dealt with through the European Commission’s infringement procedure. If the EU executive has evidence that a member state has failed to correctly or completely transpose a directive, or legislation is not being enforced correctly, it may instigate formal proceedings to rectify the situation.

Infringement process

There are four stages to infringement proceedings:

Formal notice: The commission sends a letter of formal notice under article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), informing the member state that they may be in breach of EU law and asking for further information. The member state must send a detailed reply within a specified period, usually two months.

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