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Biofuels: European Commission launches infringement procedures against Italy and Greece
Commission Européenne - IP/06/862 28/06/2006
Brussels, 28 June 2006
The European Commission has decided today to send a reasoned opinion (the second step of an infringement procedure) to Italy for failure to provide adequate reasons for setting a biofuel target considerably lower than the 2% reference value for 2005 laid down by the biofuels directive. The Commission also decided to initiate Court proceedings against Italy and send a reasoned opinion to Greece, as the two countries have not submitted the annual report on biofuel use that was due on 1 July 2005.
“Biofuels contribute to our security of energy supply, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs in rural areas. I would like to urge Italy and Greece to quickly fulfil their obligations under the directive”, said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs. “I would also like to take this opportunity to remind Member States that this year’s report is due on 1 July 2006. It is particularly important to submit these reports on time, because they will form the basis for the Commission’s review of the directive later this year”, he added.
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 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
The Commission’s consultation paper for the review of the directive is available on http://ec.europa.eu/energy/res/legislation/biofuels_consultation_en.htm.
The consultation is open until 10 July 2006.
 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