The UK is to pay €32 million for failing to comply with a European ruling on fuel on private ships in a timely manner. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg made the decision on Thursday following a case by the European Union Commission. The legal dispute began five years ago: in 2018, the ECJ found that the United Kingdom had breached EU law. (Af. C-692/20)
It was a tax issue. The country had allowed fuel marked by adding color to private shipping. However, this marking should be reserved for commercial shipping. At the end of 2020, the EU Commission found that the United Kingdom had not implemented the ruling.
That was already post-Brexit, but EU law still applied for a transitional period. From 2021, the relevant directive will only apply in Northern Ireland and no longer in Great Britain. The EU Commission asked the ECJ to order the UK to pay the lump sum. The ECJ has now done just that.
He noted that the country had actually failed to ban the labeled fuel on time within the stipulated time frame. From October 2021, such refueling of private vessels will be prohibited in Northern Ireland. The ECJ declared that the breach of contract no longer existed.
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