Volume 47 (2010)

Volume 47 (2010) / Issue 1

Luca Prete, Ben Smulders, 'The Coming of Age of Infringement Proceedings' (2010) 47 Common Market Law Review, Issue 1, pp. 9–61


The “infringement procedure” is one of the most important mechanisms envisaged by the founding fathers to ensure that EU law is thoroughly and uniformly applied. The procedures are laid down in Articles 226-228 EC (now Articles 258 and 259 TFEU), and concern a failure of a Member State to fulfil an obligation under the EC Treaty . The impact of the infringement procedure on the work and operation of EU institutions and Member States, and ultimately on the life of EU citizens, may be significant. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the recent developments in this field of law which, in spite of its importance for Member States, EU institutions and citizens, is often given insufficient attention in works of academics and practitioners. This article will focus on the latest case law of the Court of Justice, in conjunction with the related policy developments in this area. A number of recent rulings from the Court have brought important developments in, and interesting clarifications with regard to, the way infringement proceedings ought to be conducted. In addition, over the last few years, the Commission has published several communications, seeking to improve the efficacy and transparency of its activity in this field. The authors submit that this corpus of judicial and legislative developments has meant that infringement proceedings have come of age: from a rarely used, opaque and policy-driven procedure, it has now become a common, fairly transparent and highly technical procedure. It is thus useful to provide a comprehensive overview of these developments, putting them into their proper context

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ISSN: 0165-0750
ID: COLA2010003