Brussels, 4 April 2006
The European Commission decided today to send a reasoned opinion to Finland and a letter of formal notice to Denmark as the two countries have still not given adequate reasons for having set targets considerably lower than the 2% reference value laid down by the biofuels directive for 2005. A letter of formal notice has also been sent to Luxemburg due to an incomplete biofuel report for 2005, and a reasoned opinion to Italy due to its failure to submit it. Promoting the use of biofules figures as a top priority in the Commission’s new Green Paper on a European Strategy for a Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy Policy.
“Biofuels are the only known substitute for fossil fuels in transport today. They contribute to our security of energy supply, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs in rural areas. Most Member States are going to great lengths to increase the use of biofuels and I regret that a small number of them have yet to join in on this effort,” remarked Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
The European Commission simultaneously decided to close its cases against Greece, Ireland and Poland. These Member States originally set low targets for 2005 without giving adequate reasons but have adopted more ambitious targets for later years since. Replies to letters of formal notice on the same subject from Hungary and the United Kingdom are currently being examined, while a reply is still expected from Italy.
Biofuels’ share of the petrol and diesel market in the EU was only 0.6% in 2003 and still less than 1% in 2004. The biofuels directive sets the reference values of a 2% share in 2005 and a 5.75% share in 2010. Member States may set their own indicative targets – however if these differ from the reference value, they have to explain why. The Commission will report on progress towards the 2005 reference value and targets later this year.
In its biomass action plan (adopted in December 2005) and biofuels strategy (adopted in February 2006), the Commission set out measures to further promote biofuels, including assessing the impact of increasing the amount of biofuel that can be blended in petrol and diesel; examination of the use of certificates to ensure that the raw materials used are cultivated in a sustainable way; helping developing countries to produce biofuels; and promoting a balanced approach to biofuel trade, respecting the interests both of domestic producers and of EU trading partners.
Member States’ national reports under the biofuels Directive are available on http://ec.europa.eu/energy/res/legislation/biofuels_en.htm
 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