Parties
Grounds
Decision on costs
Operative part

Parties

In Case 283/86

Commission of the European Communities, represented by Etienne Lasnet, Legal Adviser to the Commission, acting as Agent, with an address for service in Luxembourg at the office of G . Kremlis, a member of the Commission' s Legal Department, Jean Monnet Building, Plateau de Kirchberg,

applicant,

v

Kingdom of Belgium, represented by Jan Devadder, Deputy Adviser in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, External Trade and Cooperation with Developing Countries, acting as Agent, with an address for service in Luxembourg at the Belgian Embassy,

defendant,

APPLICATION for a declaration that by failing to adopt within the prescribed period the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Council Directive 82/470/EEC of 29 June 1982 ( Official Journal 29.6.1982, L 213, p . 1 ) on measures to facilitate the effective exercise of freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services in respect of activities of self-employed persons in certain services incidental to transport and travel agencies ( ISIC Group 718 ) and in storage and warehousing ( ISIC Group 720 ) the Kingdom of Belgium has failed to fulfil its obligations under the directive and under the third paragraph of Article 189 and the first paragraph of Article 5 of the EEC Treaty,

THE COURT

composed of : Lord Mackenzie Stuart, President, G . Bosco, J . C . Moitinho de Almeida and G . C . Rodríguez Iglesias ( Presidents of Chambers ), T . Koopmans, U . Everling and Y . Galmot, Judges,

Advocate General : C . O . Lenz

Registrar : B . Pastor, Administrator

having regard to the Report for the Hearing and further to the hearing on 25 February 1988,

after hearing the Opinion of the Advocate General delivered at the sitting on 25 February 1988,

gives the following

Judgment

Grounds

1 By application lodged at the Court Registry on 19 November 1986 the Commission of the European Communities brought an action under Article 169 of the EEC Treaty for a declaration that by failing to adopt within the prescribed period the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Council Directive 82/470/EEC of 29 June 1982 on measures to facilitate the effective exercise of freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services in respect of activities of self-employed persons in certain services incidental to transport and travel agencies ( ISIC Group 718 ) and in storage and warehousing ( ISIC Group 720 ) ( Official Journal 1982, L 213, p . 1 ) the Kingdom of Belgium has failed to fulfil its obligations under the directive and under the third paragraph of Article 189 and the first paragraph of Article 5 of the EEC Treaty .

2 Article 8 of Directive 82/470 provides that Member States are to adopt the measures necessary to comply with the directive within 18 months of its notification and must forthwith inform the Commission thereof . That period expired on 2 January 1984 .

3 Since it had received no communication from the Belgian Government within the prescribed period on measures implementing the directive, on 16 April 1985 the Commission sent a letter of formal notice requesting it to submit its observations on the matter within a period of two months . The observations of the Belgian Government, which were communicated by letters dated 2 and 28 August 1985, were not considered satisfactory by the Commission, and on 11 April 1986 it therefore issued a reasoned opinion under the first paragraph of Article 169 of the Treaty . In answer to that opinion, in a letter dated 4 September 1986 the Belgian Government explained the difficulties which had prevented the adoption of the measures needed to comply with the directive . Holding that the Kingdom of Belgium had still not adopted the said measures, the Commission brought the present action for failure to fulfil obligations .

4 Reference is made to the Report for the Hearing for the course of the procedure and the submissions and arguments of the parties, which are mentioned hereinafter only in so far as is necessary for the reasoning of the Court .

5 The Belgian Government admits that it has not yet adopted all the national measures needed to transpose the directive . At the hearing it stated that as regards travel agents the Belgian legislation now complied with the provisions of the directive, following the adoption of the Royal Decree of 22 October 1987 amending the Royal Decree of 30 June 1966 on the rules governing travel agents . As regards services incidental to transport the Belgian Government stated that a draft law had been prepared to amend the Law of 26 June 1967 on the rules governing persons engaged in services incidental to the transport of goods but that the draft had not yet been submitted for parliamentary approval because of the dissolution of parliament at the end of the previous year .

6 The complaint relating to the failure to adopt measures transposing the directive in relation to travel agents must be considered by the Court . Even if the legislation adopted by the Kingdom of Belgium has made good the failure, which is denied by the Commission since the competent national authorities and bodies required by Articles 4 and 7 of the directive have not yet been appointed, the Court has consistently held that where a default has been remedied after the period prescribed under the second paragraph of Article 169 of the Treaty an interest still subsists in pursuing the action .

7 The Court has consistently held that a Member State may not rely on provisions, practices or situations in its internal legal system to justify failure to observe the obligations and time-limits laid down by directives .

8 It must therefore be held that by failing to adopt within the prescribed period the provisions necessary to comply with Council Directive 82/470 of 29 June 1982 the Kingdom of Belgium has failed to fulfil its obligations under 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 defendant 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 within the prescribed period the provisions necessary to comply with Council Directive 82/470 of 29 June 1982 the Kingdom of Belgium has failed to fulfil its obligations under the EEC Treaty;

( 2 ) Orders the Kingdom of Belgium to pay the costs .