Addressing market distortions created by failure to implement EU law – what can a Member State do?

Christopher Brown

On 2 September, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee published a report into the implementation of the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive. What is so interesting about that, you may ask. The answer is that it discusses, albeit briefly, an important issue in EU law: what happens when one Member State (here, the UK) implements a directive in relation to a particular product on time but certain other Member States do not, with the effect that some products of that type imported into the UK are not compliant with the directive? Can the UK take unilateral action against those products, banning their import until the Member State of provenance takes the necessary action? Or is it tough luck, with the compliant Member State having to rely on the Commission to commence infraction proceedings against the offending Member State(s)?

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