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Brussels, 18 October 2007

Taxation of energy products and electricity – New infringement proceedings against France

The European Commission has decided to initiate further infringement proceedings against France for failure to implement a Court ruling relating to non-transposition by France of the Directive on energy taxation (2003/96/EC). Initiation of these new proceedings takes the form of a letter of formal notice under Article 228 of the EC Treaty. After sending a further reasoned opinion, the Commission may refer the matter to the Court of Justice for a second time and propose that the Court impose a penalty payment under Article 228 of the EC Treaty.

As a result of infringement proceedings initiated by the Commission under Article 226 of the EC Treaty (see press release IP/06/917), on 29 March 2007 (Case C-388/06) the Court of Justice ruled that France had failed to fulfil its obligations “by failing, within the period prescribed, to adopt the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity.”

Following this judgment, the Commission requested the French government to inform it of the measures taken to implement the Court’s decision and to comply with Community law.

Since the Commission received only an incomplete communication of the measures necessary for transposing the Directive and thus for implementing the Court of Justice’s ruling, it considers France to have failed to meet its obligations. It has therefore decided to initiate new infringement proceedings against France under Article 228 of the EC Treaty.


Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 extends the scope of the Community energy taxation framework, which was previously confined to mineral oils and all energy products including coal, natural gas and electricity, and increases the minimum Community rates of taxation.

In particular the Directive is aimed at:

  • reducing the distortions of competition that currently exist between Member States as a result of the application of different rates of tax;
  • reducing the distortions of competition between mineral oils and other energy products which were not previously subject to Community fiscal provisions;
  • reinforcing measures to encourage energy efficiency (thus reducing dependency on energy imports and carbon dioxide emissions); and
  • authorises the Member States to grant tax advantages to businesses taking special measures to reduce their emissions.

Article 28 of the Directive provides that the Member States must adopt and publish the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive not later than 31 December 2003, and that they must inform the Commission thereof immediately.

The Commission’s case reference number is 2004/0213.
Press releases on infringement proceedings in the field of taxation and customs may be consulted at:
The latest general information on infringement proceedings against the Member States is available at:

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