April 12, 2012 1:04 pm
Malta amongst most correct EU States
Malta has dodged the notoriety earned by other Mediterranean member states, known informally as the “laggard” countries, and is among the most observant when it comes to EU laws and directives.
The island was among member states that least had to appear before EU judges between 2007 and 2011, according to a recent publication by the European Court of Justice containing a detailed analysis of cases it handled over the past five years.
In the period under review, the Luxembourg-based court only handled 14 cases involving Malta, including 12 initiated by the European Commis-sion claiming infringement of EU laws.
The most famous of these cases dealt with the issue of spring hunting, where the Commission accused Malta of infringing its Birds Directive by allowing hunting to take place in spring following EU accession.
Although the ECJ ruled against Malta, the island still managed to get away with a small window of opportunity, allowing Maltese hunters – the only in the EU – to get on with a restrictive season, which opens today.
According to records, the EU court ruled against Malta in four cases out of the 12 filed by the Commission and the island managed to sway the judges to its side on two occasions.
Many of the other court cases were stopped after the island ratified the original grievances flagged by the EU Executive.
Malta has one case pending before the ECJ dealing with noise maps but this is also expected to be withdrawn by the Commission following progress made on the issue.
The ECJ publication again confirms the EU’s general perception on many Mediterranean mem-ber states.
The largest number of court cases in the period under study were initiated against Greece (75), Italy (69) and Spain (68). The three countries also topped the league when it came to “guilty” verdicts by the Court’s 27 judges.
Italy was declared to have infringed EU laws 66 times in the 2007-2011 period, followed by Spain (56 times) and Greece (50 times).
Other countries with high “guilty” declarations against them were France and Luxembourg (both 38 times), Portugal (37) and Bel-gium (36).
No infringements were found in the case of Cyprus and Latvia, Slovakia had three and Denmark four.
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