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IP/06/30

Brussels, 13 January 2006

Taxation of energy products and electricity – Infringement proceedings against France and Germany

The European Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion to France, the second stage in the infringement proceedings provided for by Article 226 of the EC Treaty, for failure to notify measures to transpose Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity. It has also decided to refer Germany to the Court of Justice for failure to transpose the same Directive.

The quest for better governance in the application of Community law calls for the Member States to adhere strictly to the deadlines for transposing Community Directives.

Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 extends the EU's minimum rates of taxation, previously confined to mineral oils, to all energy products, including coal, natural gas and electricity. The Directive reduces the distortions of competition that currently exist between Member States as a result of divergent rates of tax. It also reinforces measures aimed at encouraging energy efficiency with a view to reducing dependency on energy imports and limiting carbon dioxide emissions.

Article 28 of the Directive requires Member States to adopt and publish the national laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive no later than 31 December 2003 and inform the Commission as soon as they have done so.

France

Because France did not inform the Commission of the measures taken to comply with the Directive, on 22 March 2004 the Commission sent it a letter under Article 226 of the Treaty, giving it two months in which to submit its observations. As far as the Commission is aware, having received no response from France to its letter of 22 March 2004, these measures have still not been adopted.

Germany

Following the Commission’s action, the Germany authorities initially undertook to notify the national measures transposing Directive 2003/96/EC in 2005 at the latest. Following the reasoned opinion issued by the Commission on 13 July 2005, Germany announced, however, that the measures previously notified would not enter into force until May 2006. The Commission therefore decided to move to the next stage of the Article 226 procedure by referring the matter to the Court of Justice.
The latest data on infringement procedures against all Member States can be found on the following website:

http://ec.europa.eu/secretariat_general/sgb/droit_com/index_fr.htm


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