Refund for cancelled travel during the pandemic: Commission decides to refer SLOVAKIA to the Court of Justice

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

The European Commission has decided today to refer Slovakia to the Court of Justice because its national rules infringe EU law on package travel rights (Directive (EU) 2015/2302). Although initially Slovakia had announced an amendment to its legislation, the national provisions on reimbursement for package holidays cancelled because of COVID-19, adopted in May 2020, remain in force.

Under these national rules, travellers whose package holiday is cancelled because of COVID-19 have to either accept an amended package travel contract or a substitute package offered by the organiser of the package. Alternatively, the travellers are entitled to a refund only after 31 August 2021. These rules breach Union law as under the Package Travel Directive, travelers are entitled to a refund within 14 days if their package travel contract is terminated because of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances.

In July 2020, the Commission launched an infringement procedure against Slovakia (and 9 other Member States) for introducing rules on package travel, which were not in conformity with the Package Travel Directive. In October 2020, the Commission proceeded to the next stage of the infringement procedure and sent Slovakia a reasoned opinion. In December 2020 Slovakia replied to the reasoned opinion and shared a draft legislative amendment. It was planned that the amendment would be adopted in March 2021 and enter into force on 1 May 2021.

At the end of March 2021, the Slovak authorities informed the European Commission that the draft amendment had not been adopted and that a new legislative process would be initiated. As Slovakia has not yet amended its legislation, the Commission decided today to refer Slovakia to the Court of Justice to ensure that this important consumer right on package travel becomes a reality again under Slovak legislation.


Due to COVID-19 pandemic, many travel arrangements had to be cancelled. Nonetheless, under the Package Travel Directive, travellers have the right to be refunded or reimbursed without undue delay and in any event not later than 14 days after the package travel contract is terminated because of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances. However, many Member States adopted national rules allowing organisers of package travel to deviate from these rules. Those national rules breach the provisions of the Package Travel Directive and weaken consumer rights. In May 2020, the Commission adopted a specific Recommendation on vouchers to support Member States in setting up attractive, reliable and flexible voucher schemes, reiterating that Union law must be respected and consumers must have an option to choose the type of compensation.

In July 2020, the Commission launched infringement procedures against 10 Member States for their rules on package travel. The 10 Member States allowed organisers of package travel to issue mandatory vouchers, instead of reimbursement in money, for cancelled trips during COVID-19 pandemic, or to postpone refund or reimbursement far beyond the 14-day period set out in the EU Package Travel Directive.

In October 2020, the Commission proceeded to the next stage of infringement procedures and sent reasoned opinions to Croatia, Lithuania and Slovakia, which at the time still had not brought their legislation in conformity with the Directive. At the same time, the Commission launched an infringement procedure against Bulgaria for introducing similar rules on package travel and closed infringement proceedings against seven Member States (Czechia, Greece, France, Italy, Poland and Portugal) where the provisions derogating from the Package Travel Directive had expired or been repealed. The Commission also closed the infringement that was opened against Cyprus as there was no evidence that the national provisions infringed the Package Travel Directive.

The Commission also decided today to close the infringement procedures against Lithuania and Bulgaria. Lithuania repealed its temporary derogation from the Package Travel Directive in February 2021 and Bulgarian national provisions deviating from the Package Travel Directive expired on 31 December 2020.

Croatia has informed the Commission that its national provisions derogating from the Package Travel Directive will be repealed in June 2021. The European Commission continues to monitor the situation in Croatia closely.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

European Commission increases support for the EU’s beekeeping sector

More protection for our seas and oceans is needed, report finds

Which country offers the cheapest mobile data?

INTERVIEW: ‘Defend the people, not the States’, says outgoing UN human rights chief

10 ways central banks are experimenting with blockchain

Can the US-Iran rapprochement change the world?

DR Congo elections: ‘historic opportunity’ for ‘peaceful transfer of power’ says Security Council

What can be done to avoid the risk of being among the 7 million that will be killed by air pollution in 2020?

Is there a de facto impossibility for the Brexit to kick-start?

How trust and collaboration are key in India’s last mile response to the COVID-19 crisis

Investors must travel a winding road to net-zero. Here’s a map

Engaging women and girls in science ‘vital’ for Sustainable Development Goals

‘No steps taken’ so far to end Israel’s illegal settlement activity on Palestinian land – UN envoy

In visit to hurricane-ravaged Bahamas, UN chief calls for greater action to address climate change

Illegal fishing plagues the Pacific Ocean. Here’s how to end it

How AI and machine learning are helping to fight COVID-19

EU tells Britain stay in as long as you wish

Financing fossil fuels risks a repeat of the 2008 crash. Here’s why

Here are 4 tips for governing by design in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

How curiosity and globalization are driving a new approach to travel

Coronavirus (COVID-19): truth and myth on personal risk perception

The battle for the 2016 EU Budget to shake the Union; Commission and Parliament vs. Germany

Innovation can transform the way we solve the world’s water challenges

#WorldBicycleDay: 5 benefits of cycling

Missile strike kills at least 12 civilians, including children, in Syria’s Idlib: UN humanitarians

4 steps to developing responsible AI

Mental health and suicide prevention – What can be done to increase access to mental health services in my region?

UN chief outlines ‘intertwined challenges’ of climate change, ocean health facing Pacific nations on the ‘frontline’

New US President: MEPs hope for a new dawn in transatlantic ties

Desires for national independence in Europe bound by economic realities

European Union and African Union sign partnership to scale up preparedness for health emergencies

Yemen war: UN chief urges good faith as ‘milestone’ talks get underway in Sweden

Spring 2019 Standard Eurobarometer: Europeans upbeat about the state of the European Union – best results in 5 years

Coronavirus: Commission approves contract with CureVac to ensure access to a potential vaccine

Outbreak of COVID-19: The third wave and the people

A day in the life of a Venezuelan migrant in Boa Vista, Brazil

EU Copyright Directive: Google News threatens to leave Europe while media startups increasingly worry

3 ways to fight short-termism and relaunch Europe

Accountability in Sudan ‘crucial’ to avoid ‘further bloodshed’, says UN rights office

UN committed ‘to support the Libyan people’ as Guterres departs ‘with deep concern and a heavy heart’

Antarctica: the final coronavirus-free frontier. But will it stay that way?

Mario Draghi didn’t do it but Kim Jong-un did

UN chief welcomes G20 commitment to fight climate change

MEPs: Access to adequate housing should be a fundamental European right

More countries are making progress on corruption – but there’s much to be done, says a new report

Mountains matter, especially if you’re young, UN declares

EU food watchdog: more transparency, better risk prevention

Young activists share four ways to create a more inclusive world

The European Sting @ the European Business Summit 2014 – Where European Business and Politics shape the future

More than one million sexually transmitted infections occur every day: WHO

These countries spend the most on education

How a new approach to meat can help end hunger

MEPs cap prices of calls within EU and approve emergency alert system

Electronic cigarettes: is it really a safe alternative to smoking?

China confirms anti-state-subsidy investigation on EU wine imports

Century challenge: inclusion of immigrants in the health system

Here’s how we reboot digital trade for the 21st century

Britain and Germany change attitude towards the European Union

UN, global health agencies sound alarm on drug-resistant infections; new recommendations to reduce ‘staggering number’ of future deaths

Ten new migratory species protected under global wildlife agreement

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s