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Judgment of the Court of 6 February 1992.

Commission of the European Communities v Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Failure of a Member State to fulfil its obligations - Failure to comply with a judgment of the Court.

Case C-75/91.

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Judgment of 6 February 1992, Commission / Netherlands (C-75/91, ECR 1992 p. I-549) ECLI:EU:C:1992:60

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Commission of the European Communities v Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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Keywords

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Actions against Member States for failure to fulfil obligations - Judgment of the Court declaring that the Member State had failed to fulfil its obligations - Prescribed period for compliance

(EEC Treaty, Art. 171)

Summary

The immediate and uniform implementation of Community law requires that the process of complying with a judgment must be initiated at once and must be completed as soon as possible.

Parties

In Case C-75/91,

Commission of the European Communities, represented by T. van Rijn, a member of its Legal Service, acting as Agent, with an address for service in Luxembourg at the office of Roberto Hayder, a representative of its Legal Service, Wagner Centre, Kirchberg,

applicant,

v

Kingdom of the Netherlands, represented by J.W. de Zwaan and T. Heukels, Assistant Legal Advisers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, acting as Agents, with an address for service in Luxembourg at the Netherlands Embassy, 5 Rue C.M. Spoo,

defendant,

APPLICATION for a declaration that by failing to adopt the measures required to comply with the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Communities of 13 October 1987 in Case 236/85, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has failed to fulfil its obligations under the EEC Treaty,

THE COURT,

composed of: O. Due, President, R. Joliet, F.A. Schockweiler and P.J.G. Kapteyn (Presidents of Chambers), C.N. Kakouris, G.C. Rodríguez Iglesias and M. Díez de Velasco, Judges,

Advocate General: G. Tesauro,

Registrar: J.A. Pompe, Deputy Registrar,

having regard to the Report for the Hearing,

after hearing oral argument from the parties at the hearing on 16 January 1992,

after hearing the Opinion of the Advocate General at that hearing,

gives the following

Judgment

Grounds

1 By application lodged at the Court Registry on 22 February 1991, the Commission of the European Communities brought an action under Article 169 of the EEC Treaty for a declaration that by failing to adopt the measures required to comply with the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Communities of 13 October 1987 in Case 236/85 Commission of the European Communities v Kingdom of the Netherlands [1987] ECR 3989, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 171 of the EEC Treaty.

2 In that judgment the Court held that, by not adopting within the prescribed period all the laws, regulations and administrative provisions needed to comply with Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds, the Kingdom of the Netherlands had failed to fulfil its obligations under the EEC Treaty.

3 Since no measure for transposing the directive was taken as a result of the aforementioned judgment, the Commission gave the Netherlands Government notice, by a letter of 24 April 1989, that it should fulfil its obligations in that respect. The Commission considered the replies from the Netherlands Government to be unsatisfactory and sent it a reasoned opinion on 27 February 1990.

4 In reply to the reasoned opinion, the Netherlands Government stated, in a letter of 2 May 1990, that two draft laws intended to amend the Jachtwet (Law on Hunting) and the Vogelwet (Law on Birds) would be put before Parliament very shortly. The Commission subsequently received no further information indicating that those draft laws had been placed before Parliament and therefore brought this action.

5 Reference is made to the Report for the Hearing for a fuller account of the facts of the case, the procedure and the pleas and arguments of the parties, which are mentioned or discussed hereinafter only in so far as is necessary for the reasoning of the Court.

6 The Netherlands Government admits that the measures required to comply with the judgment have not yet been taken and explains that that is due to the constraints imposed by domestic legislative procedure, which have repercussions for the time needed to amend the aforementioned laws.

7 It should be noted that, even though Article 171 of the Treaty does not specify the period within which a judgment must be complied with, it is clear in view of the interest in the immediate and uniform implementation of Community law that the process of complying with a judgment must be initiated at once and must be completed as soon as possible (see, most recently, the judgment of 30 January 1992 in Case C-328/90 Commission v Greece [1992] ECR I-425).

8 It should therefore be held that by failing to adopt the measures required to comply with the judgment of the Court of Justice of 13 October 1987, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 171 of the EEC Treaty.

Decision on costs

Costs

9 Under Article 69(2) of the Rules of Procedure, the unsuccessful party is to be ordered to pay the costs. Since the Kingdom of the Netherlands has failed in its submissions, it must be ordered to pay the costs.

Operative part

On those grounds,

THE COURT

hereby:

1. Declares that by failing to adopt the measures required to comply with the judgment of the Court of Justice of 13 October 1987, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 171 of the EEC Treaty;

2. Orders the Kingdom of the Netherlands to pay the costs.

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