Case C-225/04 Commission v Finland: Finland misses deadline for maritime safety law

Finland was held by the European Court of Justice to have failed to comply with a July 2003 deadline to transpose Directive 2001/106/EC on EU Maritime Safety into national law.

Judgement was given in the case of the European Commission v Finland on 24 February 2005.
Directive 2001/106/EC amends Directive 95/21/EC concerning the enforcement, in respect of shipping using community ports and sailing in the waters under the jurisdiction of the Member States, of international standards for ship safety, pollution prevention and shipboard living and working conditions (port state control).

Finland had failed to notify the Commission of its national transposition measures prior to 22 July 2003, which was the date prescribed for implementation by Member States. A reasoned opinion was therefore issued to the Republic of Finland on 13 November 2003, after which Finland had two months in which to take the measures necessary to ensure transposition of the Directive.

While the Finnish Government responded to the reasoned opinion within this period, stating that it was in the process of transposing the Directive and the necessary measures would be in place at the latest by May 2004, the Commission raised proceedings on 1 June 2004, by which date the necessary transposition measures had yet to be adopted.

The Directive was then to be transposed into national law by means of a law and a decree which were to take effect from 1 August 2004 and during the course of the proceedings, Finland argued that it had notified the Commission of transposition measures in July of last year.

However the Court ruled that this was too late, with it being unable to take into account measures that implemented following expiry of the period provided in the reasoned opinion.

By failing to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Directive 2001/106/EC the Republic of Finland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 2 of that directive, and was ordered to pay the costs of the action.

The case against Finland is the first case to come before the European Court of Justice regarding this Directive, which updates earlier port state control legislation, and sets standards for inspection of ships docking in the EU in a bid to prevent pollution. The judgement in the case is currently only available in French and Finnish though should shortly be available in English through the following link: www.curia.eu.int/en/content/juris/index_form.html


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