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European Commission - Press release

Commission refers Greece to Court and gives Germany a final warning regarding the transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive

Brussels, 18 June 2015

The European Commission is referring Greece to the EU Courtof Justice for failing to transpose the Energy Efficiency Directive. Under this directive EU Member States must meet certain energy savings targets from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2020. They must do this by using energy efficiency obligations schemes or other targeted policy measures to drive energy efficiency improvements in households, buildings, industry and transport. Under the Energy Efficiency Obligations Schemes, companies have to take measures to ensure energy savings at final customer level, for example by giving advice on installing better insulation or offering grants for replacing old energy-wasting windows. Member States were required to transpose the obligations of the Directive by 5 June 2014.

Other requirements under the Directive 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 February 2015, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Greece requesting the country to notify the Commission of all transposition measures for the Energy Efficiency Directive. To date, no legislation transposing the Directive into national law has been adopted and/or notified to the Commission.

Referring Greece to the Court, the Commission proposes a daily penalty of €29 145,60. The level of this penalty takes into account the duration and the seriousness of the infringement. In case the transposition remains incomplete and the Court confirms the Commission's view, the daily penalty would have to be paid from the date of the judgment or a later date set by the Court until the transposition is complete. The final amount of the daily penalty will be decided by the Court, but cannot exceed the Commission's proposal

In addition, the European Commission has requested Germany to ensure the full transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive. Germany has now two months to comply with this obligation, following that the Commission may decide to refer it to the EU Court of Justice and ask for financial penalties.

Progress on transposing the Energy Efficiency Directive is currently being examined in all Member States. Overall, 27 Member States (all except Malta) have received a letter of formal notice for failing to fully transpose the Directive by the June 2014 deadline. So far, the Commission issued eight reasoned opinions to Member States where full transposition was still not achieved (Austria, Portugal, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Romania, Latvia and today, Germany) and has referred two Member States to Court (Hungary in March 2015 and, today, Greece). The Commission continues to monitor the progress in transposition and will address any shortcomings in future infringement cycles.

 

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 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 the 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 also examining the situation in other Member States which have already been sent a reasoned opinion for failure to adopt transposition measures. Therefore, today's Commission action might be complemented by further referrals to the Court in the future.

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. 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:

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

IP/15/5196

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