Brussels, 4 July 2006
The European Commission has decided to refer France to the Court of Justice for failure to notify measures for the transposition into national law of Council Directive 2003/96/EC restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity (cf. IP/06/30).
Better governance in terms of the application of Community law presupposes strict compliance by the Member States with the deadlines for transposing the 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 required 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 had done so.
Because France did not inform the Commission of the measures taken to comply with Directive 2003/96/EC, the Commission sent the country, on 22 March 2004, a letter under Article 226 of the EC Treaty, giving it two months in which to submit its observations. Having still not received any information to the effect that France had transposed this Directive, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion (cf. IP/06/30) to France by letter of 13 December 2005; this constitutes the second stage of the infringement procedure provided for in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. In view of France’s failure to reply to this reasoned opinion, the Commission has decided to move on to the next stage of the procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty.
The Commission's case reference number is 2004/0213.