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EC replies to legal rulings on Cyprus swimming pools

AS WE reported on 4th March, the authorities in Cyprus have taken legal proceedings against the owners of shared swimming pools in private development complexes because they failed to apply for a swimming pool licence.

In a written question to the European Commission MEP Arlene McCarthy highlighted the fact that Cypriot regulations are no longer applicable as they have been superseded by EU regulations and called on the Commission to ensure unfair legal proceedings against pool owners are halted and that the correct European standards are enforced.

On Wednesday, European Commissioner for Enterprise & Industry Antonio Tajani replied to Ms McCarthy’s question.

EN
E-001470/2011
Answer given by Mr Tajani
on behalf of the Commission
(23.3.2011)

The question concerns a conflict between national regulations and a European standard. The European Standard for swimming pools, EN 15288-2, appears to conflict with Cypriot law on swimming pools.

European standard EN 15288-2 was developed and adopted by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN). Each CEN national member, which includes the national standardisation body of Cyprus, must implement the European standard by giving it the status of a national standard and withdrawing any conflicting national standard(s).

However, a CEN member may be confronted with the situation where it has to implement a European standard that does not comply with its national legislation. As the application of European standards is generally voluntary (unlike legislation), in these circumstances the CEN member is entitled to request a derogation from the mandatory replacement of the national standard by the European standard. This derogation is effected through the application of a so called ‘A-deviation’, to be included in the informative annex to the European standard.

It is not clear whether the national standardisation body of Cyprus has requested an A-deviation with respect to the European standard EN 15288-2. However, even if this was not the case, national legislation would prevail over the European standard in the event of conflict. In the absence of EU legislation applicable to the safety of swimming pools, the obligation to seek a swimming pool licence will have to be assessed by the Cypriot courts.

Further reading

Written question and answer to the European Commission E-001470/2011:  European Standard for swimming pools and its application in the municipality of Paphos