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How the European Commission handled infringement proceedings against Germany about planning laws and retail space

The complainants are two retail companies, which allege that the European Commission has failed to appropriately handle infringement proceedings against Germany concerning planning laws and retail space. The complainants are concerned about the time taken for the proceedings, with the initial infringement complaint having been submitted in 2008, and the differing explanations given by the Commission for the delay.

The Ombudsman inspected the Commission's file on the case and met with relevant representatives from the Commission. Following this, she issued preliminary findings to the Commission, notably that the Commission had taken an unreasonably long time (thirteen years) to deal with the initial administrative stages of the infringement procedure. She suggested that the Commission should take a decision on the next stage of the procedure without further delay, and asked the Commission to respond to her findings.