Law

A Practical Guide to the Infringement Procedure: How to Respond to Commission Investigations and Avoid Court Cases

Make your national administration a winner in EU infringement procedures: respond persuasively to Commission allegations, avoid the risk of a court case, a condemnatory ruling and potential financial sanctions for your national administration.

About this course

This highly practical course will provide you with a sophisticated understanding of the infringement procedure (Articles 258 to 260 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) – the main enforcement mechanism enacted by the Commission against a Member State in case of a presumed breach of its obligations under EU law.

What will you learn:

This course will offer you a professional insight into the infringement procedure, analysing in detail the role of the Commission and the position of the Member States.

Hence you will be able to understand and distinguish the capacities and prerogatives of both actors, determining the different respective administrative and procedural strategies, which they can resort to throughout the procedure.

If you are a national official, the course will equip you with the right methodology to improve the capacity and quality of your national administration responses to Commission investigations on alleged infringements.

In the potential scenario of the initiation of the jurisdictional phase of the procedure, the course will also help you to select the right defence strategy to improve your state’s position during the litigation.

In case of a final condemnatory ruling after the procedure, this course will show you tips on how to comply with the judicial decision as swiftly as possible and hence avoid a new procedure, under Article 260 TFEU.

Course methodology/highlights:

The course will be conducted by EIPA legal experts of proven knowledge on infringement matters who will discuss key topics, illustrated with examples and cases from litigation practice.

All sessions will be followed by periods of Q & A for the exchange of ideas, and discussions where participants will have the opportunity to share professional experiences.

The various group exercises, workshops and discussions featured in the course will promote a high level of interactivity and provide enhanced learning opportunities.

By participating in this course, you will learn the practical insights of the procedure. You will also acquire the professional skills required to give persuasive answers to the inquiries of the Commission, to voluntarily remedy the alleged infringement and avoid a potential court case against your state and, ultimately, a condemnatory ruling and potential financial sanction.

Prior to the course, you will be given access to the course materials on our digital learning platform. These course materials will consist of relevant legal texts, key decisions of the CJEU, Commission’s communications, PP slide shows, etc.

  • Public sector employees, in charge of or involved in the transposition of EU law and state officials and legal counsellors answering / preparing the defences of the state in all stages of the infringement procedure, irrespective of the level of government or origin of the case (i.e. national, regional and local level).
  • State agents acting before the CJEU and pleading on behalf of their states in infringement proceedings.
  • Private practicing lawyers, consultants and other interested actors from the private sector, who wish to update their knowledge on the infringement procedure and obtain a comprehensive overview.

Course venue
European Centre for Judges and Lawyers – EIPA Luxembourg
8 rue Nicolas Adames
1114 Luxembourg

Programme Organiser
Mr Naoise Crowley
Tel: +352 426 230 306
n.crowley@eipa.eu

Fee
The fee includes documentation, refreshments and lunches. Accommodation and travel costs are at the expense of the participants or their administration.

EIPA member fee

EIPA offers a discount to all civil servants working for one of EIPA’s supporting countries, and civil servants working for an EU institution, body or agency.

Who are the supporting countries?
Civil servants coming from the following EIPA supporting countries are entitled to get the reduced fee: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden.

For all other participants, the regular fee applies.

Early bird discount
The early bird discount is not cumulative with other discounts or promo codes, except for the EIPA member fee.

Loyalty coupon
As a token of appreciation we offer all our participants a loyalty coupon for one of our future courses. The offer can be shared with colleagues and relevant networks. The coupon will expire one year after its release. This discount is not cumulative with other discounts, except for the EIPA member fee.

Meals
Dietary preferences can be indicated on the registration form.

Hotel reservations
EIPA has special price arrangements with a number of hotels. Most rates are including breakfast and tourist tax. Should you wish to make use of this possibility, please book directly via the links below. Payment is to be made directly and personally to the hotel upon checking out.

Kirchberg

Luxembourg Centre

Railway Station Area

Confirmation
Confirmation of registration will be forwarded to participants on receipt of the completed online registration form.

Payment
Prior payment is a condition for participation.

Cancellation policy
For administrative reasons you will be charged €150 for cancellations received within 15 days before the activity begins. There is no charge for qualified substitute participants. EIPA reserves the right to cancel the activity up to 2 weeks before the starting date. In that case, registration fees received will be fully reimbursed. EIPA accepts no responsibility for any costs incurred (travel, accommodation, etc.).

A few days before the start of the course you will receive the log-in details for accessing the course materials. You can log in here.

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Our experts

Panagiotis Zinonos

Panagiotis Zinonos

Cour supérieure de justice of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Programme

09.00Registration of participants
09.30Welcome and introduction to the course

Juan Diego Ramírez-Cárdenas Díaz, Senior Lecturer, European Centre for Judges and Lawyers, EIPA Luxembourg

09.45The infringement procedure – a commented introduction

  • Nature the procedure and its relation with other judicial and administrative procedures;
  • Concept of infringement: which EU law obligations can be breached and how?
  • Identity of the parties in the procedure;
  • Which is the role of the Commission throughout the procedure and what are its prerogatives and obligations?

Juan Diego Ramírez-Cárdenas Díaz

10.30Q & A Session
10.45Break
11.15Dealing with the Commission during the pre-litigation phase (1) Investigation phase by the Commission

  • Complaints by individuals
  • Own initiative cases / non communication cases;
  • EU Pilot;

Letter of formal notice:

  • Contents of the letter of formal notice;
  • Obligation for the Member State to respond:
    • How to respond to the letter of formal notice?
    • Type and content of reply;
  • Member States’ potential answers and their possible outcomes:
  • Classification of the complaint and closure of the file
  • Institution of the proceedings

Juan Diego Ramírez-Cárdenas Díaz

11.45Q & A Session 
12.00Dealing with the Commission during the pre-litigation phase (2)

Reasoned opinion

  • Contents and formal requirements of the reasoned opinion
  • Responding efficiently and effectively to the reasoned opinion – some tips
  • Assessing the conformity of the measures taken by the Member States to comply with the reasoned opinion
  • Member States’ conduct and their possible outcomes:
  • Classification of the of the complaint and closure of the file
  • The case is brought before the Court of Justice

Juan Diego Ramírez-Cárdenas Díaz

12.30Lunch break
14.00The litigation phase: practical guide on the procedure before the Court

  • The Commission brings the matter before the Court of Justice: examining the admissibility of the Commission’s application
  • The proceedings per se:
  • Written phase: the application, the defence, the reply and the rejoinder
  • The submission of the judicial documents, the service of documents and the time-limits
  • Measures of organisation of procedure and preparatory inquiries
  • The oral procedure and the arguments of the parties
  • Conduct of proceedings, simultaneous interpretation, duration and practical advice
  • Prerogatives and obligations (burden of the proof et al.) of the Commission at the litigation phase

Juan Diego Ramírez-Cárdenas Díaz

15.00Q & A Session
15.15Summary of main contents of 1st day
15.30End of first day
09.00Introduction to the second day
09.15Workshop: Possible defences of the Member States

In an interactive way, participants will have the possibility to analyse different potential defences Member States may resort to and to compare with the Court of Justice’s reaction to those defences.

  • Parallel application;
  • Minimal default to fulfil the obligations
  • Opportunity
  • “Time overpassed”
  • Modification of the rules at the origin of infringement
  • Shortness of the time-limit set out to transpose EU law
  • Reciprocity
  • Force majeure
  • Unlawfulness (illegality of the measure)
  • Elimination of infringement after the expiry of the time limit set out in the reasoned opinion
  • Execution of an EU obligation “in equivalent practice”

Juan Diego Ramírez-Cárdenas Díaz, Panagiotis Zinonos, Lecturer, EIPA Luxembourg – European Centre for Judges and Lawyers

10.00Break
10.30The decision of the Court and its effects

  • Declaratory character of the decisions delivered by the Court of Justice
  • Legal force of the judgement and obligations for Member States:
  • Duty to take all necessary measures to put an end to the infringement
  • Duty to repeal the national measures contrary to EU law

Panagiotis Zinonos

11.00Q&A Session
11.15Sanctions for failure to comply with the judgment

  • Article 260 TFEU
  • Lump sum or penalty payment
  • Court’s discretion
  • Criteria to establish the amount of the sanctions: Commission’s guidelines and the approach of the Court
  • Enforcement of the article 268 TFEU judgement. The role of the Commission and potential litigation

Panagiotis Zinonos

12.15Q & A Session
12.30Lunch Break
14.00Practical exercise: the infringement procedure in 10 case studies

In this session, participants will have the opportunity to work with different case studies that deal with all phases of the procedure presented during the online workshop and to analyse the Court of Justice’s decision in each case.

Juan Diego Ramírez-Cárdenas Díaz

15.15Conclusions and evaluation
15.30End of the course

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A Practical Guide to the Infringement Procedure: How to Respond to Commission Investigations and Avoid Court Cases

14 Dec 2023 - 15 Dec 2023
Luxembourg (LU)
Register before: 29 Nov 2023

Simultaneous interpretation can be offered. Contact the programme organizer for more information and conditions.

 1.000 per attendee
 900 for EIPA members
Registration closed

Discount policy

EIPA offers a discount to all civil servants working for one of EIPA’s supporting countries, and civil servants working for an EU institution, body or agency.

Who are the supporting countries?

Civil servants coming from the following EIPA supporting countries are entitled to get the reduced fee: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden.

For all other participants, the regular fee applies.

Early bird discount

For a limited number of training courses, EIPA offers an early bird discount.

For more information please contact us.

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