The European Commission announced today that it will pursue infringement proceedings against 5 Member States – Croatia, Czechia, Germany, Greece and Spain – for lack of compliance with EU law in the implementation of 112. EENA congratulates this move to ensure the safety of EU citizens by enforcing lifesaving legislation.
Croatia, Czechia, Greece and Spain are criticised for failing to ensure that people with disabilities have ‘equal access’ to emergency services, a principle laid down in the Universal Service Directive. As a reminder, this principle not only requires Member States to ensure that deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens can easily contact the emergency services, but it also means that their location must be provided to the PSAPs (emergency control rooms). In 2019, 10 years after the Universal Service Directive entered into force, it is inconceivable that people with disabilities in Greece have no means to contact the emergency services.
The European Commission has also expressed concerns about how location information is provided to PSAPs in Germany and Greece. While EU legislation requires emergency calls to be located “as soon as the call reaches” the PSAPs, Greek authorities reported that on average it takes more than 4 minutes for emergency services to obtain this information. “Rapid response is crucial in times of emergency,” commented EENA’s Benoit Vivier. “Accurate caller location information is lifesaving and essential for emergency services to find people in danger, especially those who cannot explain where they are.”
A reasoned opinion will be sent to the 5 Member States. This is the second step of an infringement procedure and consists of a formal message including explanations about why the Commission considers that the specific country is breaching EU law. It also requests measures to be taken in order to meet the objectives set out in the legislation within 2 months. If after this period a country still fails to comply, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice, which could eventually result in financial penalties against the Member States.
EENA welcomes the pursuit of these infringement proceedings and congratulates the European Commission for its efforts to ensure the correct implementation of European legislation for the safety of citizens. Once again, EENA calls on the relevant authorities in the 5 Member States concerned to take all the necessary efforts to make sure that, a decade after its entry into force, the Universal Service Directive is finally implemented.