The EU Pilot is a method for informal dialogue between the Commission and the EU Member States on issues relating to potential non-compliance with EU law. It is used before a formal infringement procedure. Formal infringement procedures entail the EU Commission to take legal action against a member state if it fails to comply with EU law, in some cases it may result in referral to the Court of Justice where financial penalties may occur.
The EPA highlight active and closed infringements in chapter 15 of their State of the Environment Report which can be found here https://www.epa.ie/publications/monitoring–assessment/assessment/state-of-the-environment/EPA-Ireland’s-Environment-2020-Chapter15.pdf.
In summary, as of 10 November 2020, there were 16 infringement cases and four European Court of Justice cases open against Ireland for breaches of environmental law. These breaches mainly related to failures in implementing legislation on nature, water, environmental impact assessments and access to justice (EPA, 2020).
The current infringement cases against Ireland under EU nature legislation relate to
- A failure to classify Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the Birds Directive (2009/147/EC; infringement 1998/2290 and C-418/04 – Commission v Ireland)
- Peat extraction in the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) protected areas (infringement 2010/2161)
- The designation of SACs under the Habitats Directive (infringement 2015/2006, referred to Court 2 July 2020)
- The failure to establish penalties under European Commission Invasive Alien Species Regulations (infringement 2018/2319).
The number of active infringements change over time. Updated information on infringements can be found on the Commission website (https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/infringements_en).