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European Commission - Press release

ENERGY: Commission refers Hungary to Court and proposes fines for failing to fully transpose EU energy efficiency rules

Brussels, 26 March 2015

The European Commission is referring Hungary to the Court for failing to transpose the Energy Efficiency Directive. Under this directive EU Member States must meet certain energy savings targets from 1 January 2014 until 31 December 2020. They have to do this by using energy efficiency obligations schemes or other targeted policy measures to drive energy efficiency improvements in households, buildings, industry and transport sectors. Member States had to transpose the obligations of that Directive by 5 June 2014.

Other requirements include:

  • energy audits for big companies every four years,
  • increased rights for consumers regarding metering and billing of their energy consumption,
  • renovation of at least 3% of central government buildings every year
  • and energy efficient public purchasing.

In November 2014, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Hungary asking the Country to notify the Commission of all the transposition measures for the Directive (which had to be transposed into national law by 5 June 2014). To date, no legislation transposing the Directive into national law has been notified to the Commission.

By referring Hungary to the Court, the Commission proposes a daily penalty of 15,444 € per day. The level of this penalty is set taking into account the duration and the seriousness of the infringement. In case of an affirmative judgment of the Court, the daily penalty would have to be paid from the date as set in the judgment until the transposition is completed. The final amount of the daily penalty will be decided by the Court.

Furthermore, several procedures for non-transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive have been launched concerning other Member States. Overall, for 27 EU Member States (all except Malta ) an infringement procedure for not having notified the Commission as regards the national measures to transpose the directive into national law were launched (deadline: 5 June 2014). The Commission continues to monitor transposition and reporting progress and will address any shortcomings in the coming cycles (see MEMO/15/4666).

Background

Energy efficiency is one of the most cost effective ways to enhance security of energy supply, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. The energy system and the society as a whole need to become significantly more energy efficient.

The EU is aiming for a 20% cut in Europe's annual primary energy consumption by 2020. The Energy Efficiency Directive is a key instrument to achieve that target. It establishes a set of binding measures to help the EU reach that 20% energy efficiency target and puts forward measures to step up Member States’ efforts to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain – from the transformation of energy and its distribution to its final consumption. The transposition of the directive into national law should ensure coherence in Member States' policies allowing the European Union to achieve the objective of a 20% cut in energy consumption.

Full implementation and enforcement of existing energy legislation is a priority under the newly adopted Energy Union Package. The Commission is currently also examining the situation in other Member States in which reasoned opinions for failure to adopt transposition measures have also been addressed. Therefore, today's Commission action might be complemented by further referrals to the Court over the next months.

Under the Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force on 1 December 2009, if Member States fail to transpose EU legislation into national law within the required deadline, the Commission may ask the Court to impose financial sanctions when referring the case to court. The daily penalty payment is calculated based on a formula, where the following elements are multiplied:

• seriousness factor

• duration of the infringement

• "n" factor (which varies between Member States and takes into account their GDP)

• flat-rate amount, which currently is set at €660 per day.


More information:

The Energy Efficiency Directive

On the March infringement package decisions, see MEMO/15/4666

On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12

For more information on infringement procedures: http://ec.europa.eu/eu_law/infringements/infringements_en.htm

IP/15/4668

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