BRUSSELLS - The European Commission started a wave of legal action against European Union countries on Thursday.
Below are details on some of the steps taken:
HOW IT WORKS
The Commission, executive arm of the 27-country European Union, starts an infringement procedure by sending a "letter of formal notice" to an EU state.
If the Commission is unhappy with the reply, it can send a "reasoned opinion", or a final warning, setting out why it thinks EU law has been broken.
Unless the country complies by a deadline, typically two months, the Commission can take the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the EU's top court. This can take two years.
For more details about the current legal actions, follow this link: europa.eu/index_en.htm.