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Brussels, 6 July 2005

European Commission sends Reasoned Opinions to 9 Member States for failure to implement European legislation on biofuels

Today, the Commission sent Reasoned Opinions and letters of formal notice to Member States that have not fulfilled their responsibilities under the biofuels Directive. “This is particularly unfortunate since biofuels have an important role to play in European transport and energy policy as one of the few options available for replacing oil-based transport fuels”, said Commissioner Piebalgs in charge of energy. “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”.

Under the Directive[1], Member States had to accomplish three tasks during 2004: transpose the Directive; send the Commission a national report with an indicative target for the share of the petrol and diesel market that will be taken by biofuels at the end of 2005; and explain any difference between this target and the 2% “reference value” in the Directive.

Despite letters of formal notice sent in February, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovenia have still not informed the Commission of the measures they have taken to transpose the Directive.

Despite letters of formal notice sent in March, Italy, Luxembourg and Slovenia have still not submitted their national reports, while Estonia’s national report does not contain a target and the target in France’s report is only a provisional one.

Reasoned Opinions have therefore been sent to these two groups of Member States.

In their national reports, several Member States deviated from the reference value of 2%. Having examined the reasons given, the Commission considers that the targets adopted by seven of them are not in compliance with the Directive’s requirements. These are Denmark (target of 0.0%), Ireland (0.06%), Finland (0.1%), the United Kingdom (0.3%), Hungary (0.4-0.6%), Poland (0.5%) and Greece (0.7%). The Commission’s negative assessments rest on the fact that the reasons given lack relevance, seem incorrect, put the desirability of the Directive itself into question, or would – if correct – apply to all Member States; or that the proposed target would not promote the use of biofuels. Letters of formal notice have been sent to these seven states, explaining the Commission’s assessment and asking them for their observations.

Biofuels 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.

Member States’ national reports under the biofuels Directive are available on:

[1] 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

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