The Commission has decided today to refer Sweden to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to notify some of the national measures necessary to transpose EU ruleson the acquisition and possession of firearms. The Commission has also decided to request the Court to order the payment of financial penalties.
The Firearms Directive sets common minimum standards on the acquisition, possession, and commercial exchange within the EU of civilian firearms, for example those used for sport shooting and hunting. The rules allow for the lawful use and movement of firearms while preventing them from falling into the hands of criminals.
Today’s referral covers provisions introduced in the 2017 revision of the directive that Member States were required to transpose by 14 September 2018. The referral notably concerns rules on the activities of dealers and brokers, on firearms with high-capacity magazines and detachable loading devices, on semi-automatic firearms and on salute and acoustic weapons, which could easily be converted into lethal firearms.
The Commission launched the infringement procedure against Sweden in November 2018 and followed up with a reasoned opinion in July 2019. To date, Sweden has only notified the Commission of partial transposition of the Directive into its national law.
According to the 2021 Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment, 60% of criminal networks active in the EU use violence as part of their criminal businesses.
An estimated 35 million illicit firearms were owned by civilians in the EU in 2017 (56% of the estimated total of firearms). According to those estimates, illicit firearms would outnumber legally-held firearms in 12 EU Member States. The EU is uniquely placed to help disrupt criminal markets with laws establishing common EU standards, as well as through funding, police and customs cooperation and engagement with non-EU countries and international organisations.
By failing to notify some of the national measures necessary to transpose EU ruleson the acquisition and possession of firearms to the Commission, Sweden has failed to fulfil its obligations.
Under Article 260(3) of Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), if a Member State fails to transpose a Directive adopted by the European Parliament and the Council into national law within the required deadline, the Commission may call on the Court of Justice of the European Union to impose financial sanctions. The amount of these sanctions takes into account:
- the seriousness of the infringement,
- the duration of the infringement,
- a special “n” factor (which varies between Member States and takes into account their Gross Domestic Product, in millions of euro, and number of seats of the Member State concerned in the European Parliament).
The financial sanctions proposed by the Commission in this case consist of a lump sum (to penalise the existence of the infringement itself) and a daily penalty payment (to penalise the continuation of the infringement after the Court’s judgment). In this case, if the Court confirms the infringement, it may impose financial sanctions on Sweden not exceeding the amounts proposed by the Commission.
Source: EC refers SWEDEN to Court of Justice (europa.eu)
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