EU Commission takes legal action for breach of Universal Services Directive and Web Accessibility Directive.

SW – 07/2019

On 25 July 2019, the European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against several Member States for failure to comply with their obligations under EU law. Germany is affected in 17 cases, including the implementation of Directive 2002/22/EC of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive) and Directive (EU) 2016/2102 of 26 October 2016 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies (Web Accessibility Directive).

The Commission has sent reasoned opinions to Germany, Greece, Croatia, Spain and the Czechia for failing to implement the provisions of the Universal Service Directive on the 112 emergency number, in particular by ensuring access for disabled users.

The Commission has also sent reasoned opinions to Germany, Bulgaria and Ireland for failing to notify full implementation of EU rules on accessibility to public sector websites and mobile applications. Member States had until 23 September 2018 to transpose the Directive into national law. The deadlines for applying the Directive to public sector websites are as follows: As of 23 September 2019, it will apply to all websites published after 23 September 2018. As of 23 September 2020, the rules will apply to all websites and as of 23 June 2021 to mobile applications (see articles Feb 2017 and May 2018).


The Commission may initiate formal proceedings against a Member State for failing to fully transpose a Directive or for failure to remedy a possible breach of EU law. The procedure begins with the Commission requesting the Member State to provide information by means of a ‘Letter of Formal Notice’.

If the Commission considers that the information provided is insufficient and concludes that the Member State is not fulfilling its obligations under EU law, it may formally request the Member State concerned to comply with EU law by means of a ‘Reasoned Opinion’, requiring the Member State to inform the Commission of measures taken to comply within a specified period, usually two months (Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

If the Member State fails to ensure compliance, the Commission may decide to refer the Member State to the Court of Justice of the European Union.