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IP/10/1216

Brussels, 30 September 2010

Energy: Commission takes Poland to court to ensure compliance with European legislation

The Commission has decided to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to comply with European rules on the granting of authorisations with regard to hydrocarbon resources. The rules in question are intended to contribute towards better integration of the internal energy market, reduce costs and strengthen economic competitiveness. This decision follows the reasoned opinion sent to the Polish authorities in 2008 (IP/08/162).

The Commission has decided to refer the matter to the Court of Justice so that Poland brings its legislation and implementing measures into line with the European Directive on the conditions for granting and using authorisations for the prospection, exploration and production of hydrocarbons.

For the procedures in question, the Directive requires Member States firstly to allow all interested entities to submit their applications and secondly to ensure that the choice between applications is made on the basis of objective, non‑discriminatory criteria. Also, the conditions and requirements for exercising or ceasing the activity must be laid down and made available to interested entities at any time.

In Poland's case, not all of these requirements have been met. For example, all the conditions and requirements for exercising or ceasing the activity have not necessarily been established and made available in accordance with the Directive.

Firstly, in March 2007 the Commission sent Poland a letter of formal notice containing several objections. Having failed to obtain a satisfactory response, in January 2008 the Commission sent Poland a reasoned opinion, marking the second stage in infringement proceedings and asking Poland to take the essential measures to bring the national rules into line with the Directive. Lastly, the Commission has decided to refer the matter to the Court because Poland has still not responded satisfactorily, despite the contact maintained to that end.

Background

The infringement proceedings refer to the following legislation:

Directive 94/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 1994 on the conditions for granting and using authorisations for the prospection, exploration and production of hydrocarbons (OJ L 164, 30.6.1994, p. 3)

The European legislation is intended inter alia to ensure non‑discriminatory access to the prospection, exploration and production of hydrocarbons.

As its recitals indicate, the Directive is intended inter alia to contribute to greater integration, free from barriers to trade, of the internal energy market with a view to improving security of supply, reducing costs and improving economic competitiveness.

Stages of infringement proceedings

For succinct information on the stages of infringement proceedings, see IP/10/798 and MEMO/10/457.

The Commission's energy website:

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/energy/index_en.htm


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