Portugal has two weeks to respond to a Brussels notice on 'vouchers'

in News · 16-05-2020 20:01:00 · 2 Comments

Portugal has two weeks to respond to the Brussels warning about the possibility of being subject to an infringement procedure for violation of EU passenger rights laws, as it defends only 'vouchers' for cancelled trips

On Wednesday, 13 May, community sources informed the Lusa agency that the European Commission would warn Portugal and 11 other European Union (EU) member states about possible infringement procedures for disregarding the directive that safeguards passengers' rights on cancelled trips.

On 14 May, the main spokesman for the community executive, Eric Mamer, confirmed at a press conference in Brussels, the sending of these letters to these 12 EU countries, specifying that “these Member States will have two weeks to respond” to the warnings of the Commission.

“The first stage of the process will be fast,” commented Eric Mamer, stressing that this may involve future infringement procedures, if the countries concerned do not change their practices.

According to information transmitted to the Lusa agency by European sources and confirmed at the time by the spokesman of the European Commission for Transport, Stefan de Keersmaecker, the warnings will be made to Portugal, Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain, Czech Republic, Greece, France, Croatia, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta and Poland.

At issue is, in the view of Brussels, an alleged violation of EU rules on passenger rights and, in particular, on the issue of vouchers, given that some carriers - notably air carriers - are trying to get passengers on flights cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic agreeing to receive vouchers instead of asking for a refund, although community rules require that both possibilities be given.

Portugal had already expressed its preference for this option of 'vouchers' on cancelled trips, given the serious liquidity difficulties of the companies, with air carriers being the most affected and registering losses of operations reaching 90 percent and losses of billions of Euros.

Questionedby Lusa, the official source of the European Commission had already confirmed that the institution would "express its concerns in letters addressed to Member States where there are problems with compliance with EU legislation".

Still, all 27 member states will receive letters on the issue of 'vouchers', which may be recommendations or warnings from Brussels, depending on their level of compliance with the rules for passenger rights.

“These letters are adapted to the specificities of each Member State. Although these letters do not formally initiate infringement proceedings, we will make it clear that we will not hesitate to take action if the respective Member States do not comply with it [the rules] quickly, "the official European Commission source told Lusa on on 13 May.

With travel suspended in the EU as a result of restrictive measures adopted to contain the spread of covid-19, several trips have been cancelled, namely flights, and in these situations carriers are obliged to give passengers a choice between cash refunds or 'vouchers' for use, according to Community rules.

However, given the companies' liquidity difficulties, namely airlines, several countries like Portugal had already asked in a letter sent to the Commission to consider only the option of 'vouchers'.

The community executive denied and came to ask the Member States to make this a “viable and attractive alternative to reimbursement”, in recommendations released on Wednesday, 13 May, for the resumption of transport.


Is there an update to this story?

By rich from USA on 03-06-2020 02:13

In March 11 cancel my flight to Portual(Lisboa)for the pandemic Covi19 My hotel in Portugal didn't
Answer .When I cancel my flight I received email with ID 'ROR217873601 in march 11/2020 . I wait for several weeks ,I send another email no answer I need to now if I'm going to received an answer.

By Miriam j Pagan from USA on 16-05-2020 11:18
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