The European Commission has just issued the State with a Letter of Formal Notice under Article 260 TFEU.
This follows the European Court of Justice’s judgment against Ireland on 29 September, 2011, which found that the State had failed to apply EU law relating to non-life insurance equally to all insurance undertakings. The effect of the ruling is that VHI can no longer benefit from the requirement to be authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland. In response to this judgment, the Government agreed to:
- Engage with the Commission to address the ruling;
- Work with the VHI and the Central Bank on an application for authorisation by the Bank, with a decision then to be taken regarding the question of capitalisation;
- Examine the legal and legislative requirements to allow for the incorporation of the VHI as a limited company;
- Examine other options for the future status of the VHI.
The Letter of Formal Notice now received is a procedural notification that the Commission is obligation to issue within six months of a judgment. The Department of Health’s website states that the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, T.D. will now consider the terms of the Formal Notice and respond to the Commission within the two month period given by it.