The European Commission will pursue infringement proceedings against five Member States – Croatia, Czechia, Germany, Greece and Spain – for lack of compliance in the implementation of EU emergency call 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. 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).
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 four minutes for emergency services to obtain this information.
A reasoned opinion will be sent to the five 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 two 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.
The European Emergency Number Association (EENA) has welcomed 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.