Kingdom of Spain: failure to properly implement Directives in national law

EC Court of Justice, 14 April 2005, no. C-157/03
Commission of the European Communities v Kingdom of Spain

In this decision, the EC Court of Justice ruled that Spain has not fulfilled its obligations under a number of directives. First it has been ruled that directives 68/360/EEC, 73/148/EEC and 90/365/EEC were incorrectly incorporated in national law. Particularly because Spain compels third country citizens who are a family member (e.g. partner or child) of a community citizen who has exercised his right to free movement, to submit an entry visa in order to obtain a residence permit.

Furthermore, this decision ruled that, in accordance with the general structures of directive 64/221/EEC154 (and in particular with a view to article 5 of directive 64/221/EEC), a member state must take the decision relating to granting a residence permit as soon as possible, and no later than six months after the application was submitted. On the understanding that this maximum term of six months only applies when, during examination of the application, consideration as to public order are taken into account.

The case remains important for a number of reasons:

  • It provides a clear statement of requirements on member states to process Residence Card applications as soon as possible, and only in unusual cases to take six months
  • The case law from this case applies also in other EU countries, including Ireland
  • Spain has finally in 2007 transposed Directive 2004/38/EC into national law, and this case outlines standards that Spain will have to meet in their implementation of that national law
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