A Practical Guide to the Infringement Procedure: How to respond to Commission investigations and avoid Court Cases

Project number: 2051001

European Centre for Judges and Lawyers (ECJL), Luxembourg (LU)

Date & pricing

11/05/2020 - 12/05/2020
Register before: 23/03/2020

€ 1.000,00 per attendee

€ 900,00 for EIPA members*

A Practical Guide to the Infringement Procedure: How to respond to Commission investigations and avoid Court Cases

From:  900,00

This seminar will provide you with a practical understanding of the infringement procedure, analysing in detail the role of the Commission and the position of the Member States.

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About this course

The infringement procedure – Articles 258 to 260 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – is the main enforcement mechanism enacted by the Commission against a Member State whenever it is of the opinion that the Member State is in breach of its obligations under EU law. During the seminar you will learn the practical insights of the procedure and acquire the professional skills required to give persuasive answers to the inquiries of the Commission, to voluntary remedy the alleged infringement and to avoid a potential Court case.

Who will benefit most?

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).

Private practicing lawyers, consultants and other interested actors from the private sector, who wish to update their knowledge on the procedure and obtain a comprehensive overview

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

What you will learn in this course

  • This seminar will provide you with a practical understanding of the infringement procedure, analysing in detail the role of the Commission and the position of the Member States.
  • This analysis will allow you to understand the capacities and prerogatives of both actors, determining the different respective administrative and procedural strategies, which the two can resort to throughout the procedure.
  • If you are a national official, the seminar 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 seminar will also be of help to 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 seminar will provide you with tips on how to comply with the judicial decision as swiftly as possible and hence avoid a new procedure, this time under Article 260 TFEU

Practical information

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

Programme Organiser
Ms Juliette Boussuge-Mollicone
Tel: +352 426 230 304

The fee includes documentation and refreshments. Lunches, a reception or dinner are included if mentioned in the programme. Accommodation and travel costs are at the expense of the participants or their administration.

EIPA offers a 10% discount to all civil servants working for one of EIPA’s supporting countries, and civil servants working for an EU institution, body or agency.

Early bird discount
For this course, EIPA offers an early bird discount of 50 euro. The early bird deadline is 30 March 2020.

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, United Kingdom.

For all other participants, the regular fee applies.

Special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian, diabetic) can be indicated once you receive the confirmation of the seminar.

Hotel reservations

EIPA has special price arrangements with a number of hotels. All 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. At the time of booking, please mention in the requested field the reservation code: EIPA, unless indicated otherwise.


Luxembourg Centre

  • Grand Hotel Victor Hugo (Best Western Plus)****, at the rate of €175 (main building) or at the rate of €155 (annex building) (booking code: EIPA BWP 2020), via tel.: +352 26 27 440 or via e-mail: info@victorhugo.bestwestern.de

City Centre

Railway Station Area

  • Hotel City****, at the rate of €200 (Monday to Thursday) and €150 (Friday to Sunday), tel.: +352 29 11 22; e-mail: mail@cityhotel.lu; www.cityhotel.lu (Reservation code: EIPA)
  • Hotel JJ32**, at the rate of €135, tel.: +352 20 33 32 68; e-mail: info@jj32.lu; www.jj32.lu (Reservation code: EIPA BWP 2020)

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.).

The programme

08.30 Registration of participants
09.00 Welcome and introduction to the seminar
Juan Diego Ramírez-Cárdenas Díaz, Senior Lecturer, European Centre for Judges and Lawyers, EIPA Luxembourg
09.15 The 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?

Minas Konstantinidis, Member of the Legal Service, European Commission, Brussels (BE) (to be confirmed)

10.00 Dealing with the Commission during the pre-litigation phase (1)
EU Pilot

  • Purpose;
  • Types of files and queries introduced into the system;
  • System of operation;
  • Obligations of the Member State
  • Analysis of performance indicators

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

Minas Konstantinidis (to be confirmed)

10.45 Coffee break
11.15 Dealing 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

Plenary discussion: Questions that may be raised at this stage:

1.            Is there a difference between cases concerning formal implementation on the one hand and a complaint based on content of the national measure?

2.            In which instances can a Member State allege that the time period prescribed by Commission’s reasoned opinion to present allegations is insufficient?

3.            What is the value of the time period marked in the reasoned opinion for the determination of the infringement?

4.            What is the legal value of the measures that reasoned opinion may propose the Member States to adopt to remedy the infringement?

5.            Can the Member State still at this stage avoid a court case and how?

Minas Konstantinidis (to be confirmed)

12.45 Lunch break
14.30 The litigation phase (1): 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

16.00 Coffee break
16.30 The litigation phase (2): procedural tips and strategies to improve the Member State’s position before the Court

1.            What happens in the court proceedings (what documents to file, how is the oral presentation prepared)? Who represents the State?

2.            What can a Member State do to improve its situation during the litigation?

3.            What options does the Member State have before the Court, including whether the Member State still can remedy the “damage” done with a view to make the Commission withdraw the case?

4.            Who pays what court costs?

Juan Diego Ramírez-Cárdenas Díaz

17.30 End of first day and reception
09.00 Worshop: 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”

Expert to be confirmed

10.30 Coffee break
11.00 The 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

Plenary discussion: Questions that may be raised at this stage:

  • Tips and strategies to ensure full execution of the judgement and avoid an article 260 TFEU procedure: Who? What and How?
  • Are there any time limits to comply with the judgement?
  • Can a comdemnatory judgement be the basis for State liability?

Expert to be confirmed

12.30 Lunch break
14.00 Sanctions 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

Pierre Cottin, Agent before the Court of Justice of the European Union and before the EFTA Court, Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs (FPS) (to be confirmed), Directorate General for Legal Affairs (DGJ), Brussels (BE) & Juan Diego Ramírez-Cárdenas Díaz

15.00 Coffee break
15.30 Practical 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 seminar and to analyse the Court of Justice’s decision in each case.Juan Diego Ramírez-Cárdenas Díaz
17.00 Conclusions and evaluation
17.30 End of the seminar