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Brussels, 4 April 2006

Commission reminds Member States of their obligations concerning security oil stocks

The European Commission today sent reasoned opinions to Belgium, Cyprus and Greece on account of their failure to meet their obligations with regard to European oil stocks legislation. Belgium and Cyprus are not holding adequate levels of stocks, while Greece is still not forwarding statistics about the level of its stocks on time. The Commission stresses that oil stocks are extremely important for the EU’s security of supply. The recent oil market crisis in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has also confirmed how important it is for the Member States to meet their reporting obligations.

After examining the level of oil stocks held by Belgium and Cyprus and their replies to the letters of formal notice sent to them in July 2005, the Commission has decided to initiate the second stage of the infringement procedures vis-à-vis these States.

A letter of formal notice was sent to Greece in October 2004 about the level of its oil stocks and the late reporting of statistical data. Greece subsequently took steps to adjust the level of its stocks but is still systematically sending in its statistics to the Commission later than it should. This constitutes an infringement of Community law and makes it difficult to carry out a complete analysis of the overall stocks situation in the EU. It was therefore considered necessary to address a reasoned opinion to Greece.

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