Today, the Commission decided to start infringement proceedings by sending a letter of formal notice to Czechia, Cyprus, Greece, France, Italy, Croatia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia on the grounds that their national rules infringe EU law on consumers’ and travelers’ rights. These ten Member States are violating Article 12(4) Directive (EU) 2015/2302, the Package Travel Directive.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, travel arrangements have had to be cancelled. Throughout this crisis, the Commission has consistently made clear that consumer rights remain valid in the current unprecedented context and national measures to support the industry must not lower them.
On 13 May 2020, the Commission adopted a specific Recommendation on vouchers in the current context to support Member States in setting up attractive, reliable and flexible voucher schemes. Nevertheless, in these ten Member States, specific national rules on package travel are still applicable allowing organisers of package travel to issue vouchers, instead of reimbursement in money, for cancelled trips, or to postpone reimbursement far beyond the 14-day period, as set in the Package Travel Directive.
Under EU law, passengers have, however, the right to choose between reimbursement in money and other forms of refund, such as a voucher. Therefore, the Commission decided to send letters of formal notice to Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, France, Italy, Croatia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia.
The Member States concerned have now two months to reply to the Commission and take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send reasoned opinions.
· Eric MAMER
+32 2 299 40 73