The European Union has issued a warning to eight member states over their failure to introduce anti-spam legislation.

The EU last week ordered Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Finland to adopt electronic privacy measures within two months or face legal action in the European Court of Justice.

Passed last year, the Union's Directive on Electronic Communication and Data Privacy forbids commercial email unless the recipient has given prior permission and restricts websites' use of 'cookie' files to identify visitors.

The EU left each member state to implement the Directive through its national parliament. However, the eight countries warned last week have yet to do so.

"We are determined to keep up the pressure," declared European commissioner Erkki Liikanen. "The Directive is vital to ensure action can be taken and enforced at a national level in the fight against spam."

This is the second time these countries have been cautioned for failing to enact the Directive, which came into force at the end of October. They received their first warning (along with Sweden, which subsequently introduced the required legislation) in November, along with a similar threat of court action.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff