The European Commission decided on Thursday to send letters of formal notice to Croatia, Greece and Italy for failing to fully transpose and implement the common European asylum system.
The three countries were urged to correctly implement the Eurodac Regulation, which provides for effective fingerprinting of asylum seekers and transmission of data to the Eurodac central system within 72 hours.
Effective implementation of the Eurodac Regulation is essential for the functioning of the Dublin system and EU relocation schemes, the Commission said in a statement.
"The European Commission sent administrative letters to Greece, Croatia and Italy in October. Two months later, concerns have not been effectively addressed. The European Commission has therefore decided today to send Letters of Formal Notice to Greece, Croatia and Italy (the first step of an infringement procedure)," the statement said.
Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said that of 340,000 migrants who had arrived in Croatia, Croatia had entered in the Eurodac asylum fingerprint database data for only 575 of them.
Letters of formal notice are the first formal step of an infringement procedure. After receiving a letter of formal notice, member states have two months to reply and in cases of non-communication have to notify their national transposition measures to the Commission. In the absence of satisfactory replies or of notification measures, the European Commission can decide to send reasoned opinions, the second step in an infringement proceeding.
After member states receive reasoned opinions, they have two months to respond to the Commission, notifying the measures taken to ensure full transposition or bring national legislation in line with EU law. If they fail to do so, the Commission may decide to refer the member states to the Court of Justice of the EU. In cases where there is no communication of the national transposition measures, the Commission may propose to the Court of Justice of the EU to impose financial sanctions.