Sélecteur de langues
Brussels, 16 March 2005
The European Commission notifies Member States on delays in implementing European legislation on biofuels
Today, the Commission issued letters of formal notice to nine Member States that have not yet communicated their target for the share of biofuels in 2005, as required by the European legislation on biofuels. This legislation requires that an increasing proportion of all diesel and petrol sold in the Member States be biofuels, starting with 2% in 2005 and progressively increasing so as to reach a minimum of 5.75% of fuels sold in 2010. The action plan adopted in 2001 to foster the use of alternative fuels for transport indicated that the use of fuels (such as ethanol and biodiesel) derived from agricultural sources was the technology with the greatest potential in the short to medium term. “The transport market is today almost entirely dependent upon oil-based fuels”, said Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Energy. “It is now urgent that all Member States live up to their commitments to develop an alternative fuel strategy for transport and to tackle this over-dependence which is a significant source of environmental and supply concerns for the European Union.”
Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Slovenia have not yet submitted their national report to the Commission that was due by 1 July 2004 under the biofuels Directive(). Cyprus and Estonia’s national reports have been submitted but do not include a target for the share of biofuels. Finally the targets mentioned in the national reports of France and Portugal are not definitive.
Biofuels have an important role to play in European transport and energy policy because they are one of the few options available for replacing petrol and diesel as transport fuels. They tackle climate change by avoiding emissions of greenhouse gases; they diversify Europe’s sources of energy and reduce dependence on oil imports; and they offer new markets for European agriculture.
Biofuels are combustible fuels which can be used instead of or in a mixture with conventional fuel and which are obtained by processing or fermenting non-fossil biological sources such as plant oils, sugar beet, cereals and other crops and organic waste material. They include biodiesel made from oil seeds (especially rape) and used cooking oil; bioethanol made from grain and sugar crops; and biogas made from landfill gas and farm waste.
Last month, letters of formal notice were sent to 19 Member States which had not informed the Commission of their measures for transposing the directive into national legislation (due by 31 December 2004). These were Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden.
Finally some Member States have set targets for the market share of biofuels in 2005 that are less than the 2% reference value laid down in the directive. The Commission is currently examining whether they have given adequate reasons for these shortfalls.
For more information, you will find attached a table summarising the present position with regard to the implementation of the biofuels Directive in the Member States.
The present position with regard to the implementation of the biofuels Directive (2003/30) in the Member States – state of play on 7.3.5
(yellow boxes indicate the grounds for the letters of formal notice already sent or about to be sent; grey boxes indicate possible grounds for future letters of formal notice, still under examination/preparation)
 Directive 2003/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 May 2003 on the promotion of the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels for transport, OJ L123 of 17 May 2003