Beach concessions, EU ultimatum to Italy: 2 months to find the solution

In the event of failure to comply with European standards, infringement proceedings will be initiated. But Salvini is not there: “We want to guarantee continuity for the bathing establishments”

On the beach concessions, the EU is asking Italy for an “urgent solution”. The EU Commission is increasing pressure for Rome to align itself with the Bolkestein directive in the field of beach concessions. Brussels is ready to send – perhaps as early as Wednesday – a reasoned opinion with a request to Italy to comply “within two months”. Otherwise it is probable that a European infringement procedure and referral to the European Court of Justice will take place. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni “is committed to submitting proposals to the EU very quickly”, the sources report. Already at the end of February, the Commission had indicated its dissatisfaction with the extension decided by the government to 2024, considered illegitimate by the State Council only five days after the approval of the decree. A new sentence from the EU Court of Justice is expected on Thursday which, it is underlined, “could have consequences and will have to be fully taken into consideration”. Minister Salvini instead claims the rights of workers in the sector: “We want to guarantee continuity for bathing establishments”.

In December 2020, the Commission had opened an infringement procedure

The battle over beach concessions between Italy and the European Union has been going on for some time. The so-called Bolkestein directive, dating back to 2006, obliges Member States to liberalize public beaches by opening them up to market competition, thus favoring the provision of better services for users. Consequently, the services can be entrusted to private individuals only with public tenders open to all operators present in Europe. The EU Commission has repeatedly reproached our country for failing to apply European rules. In December 2020, the Commission had opened an infringement procedure against Italy. The proceeding was then suspended pending reforms which, after almost two and a half years, have not yet arrived. Now it seems that the time to prevaricate has expired.