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EU Cracking Down on Biofuels Laggards

The European Commission is taking further action against member states failing to comply with the biofuels Directive (2003/30/EC). (Earlier post.)

The directive requires that 2% of all diesel and gasoline sold be biofuels in 2005, progressively increasing to reach a minimum of 5.75% of fuels sold in 2010.

In 2004, member states were required to transpose the Directive; send the Commission a national report with an indicative target for the percentage of gasoline and diesel fuels that will be replaced by biofuels at the end of 2005; and explain any difference between this target and the 2% target in the Directive.

Earlier this year, the Commission issued letters of formal notice to States that had not yet communicated their target for the share of biofuels in 2005.

The Commission has now escalated to the next administrative level by sending Reasoned Opinions and more letters of formal notice to two groups of laggard states:

  • Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovenia have still not informed the Commission of the measures they have taken to transpose the Directive.

  • Italy, Luxembourg and Slovenia have still not submitted their national reports, while Estonia’s national report does not contain a target and the target in France’s report is only a provisional one.

This is particularly unfortunate since biofuels have an important role to play in European transport and energy policy as one of the few options available for replacing oil-based transport fuels. They tackle climate change by avoiding emissions of greenhouse gases; they diversify Europe’s sources of energy and reduce dependence on oil imports; and they offer new markets for European agriculture.

—Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs

EU States Deviating from 2% Target Directive
CountryBiofuels Target

In addition, although complying with the process by identifying a national target, seven other countries are not in compliance with the directive’s target requirement. (List to the right.)

After reviewing the reasons provided, the Commission rejected the rationales.

The Commission’s negative assessments rest on the fact that the reasons given lack relevance, seem incorrect, put the desirability of the Directive itself into question, or would&mash;if correct—apply to all Member States; or that the proposed target would not promote the use of biofuels.

The Commission has likewise sent letters of formal notice to these seven, explaining the Commission’s assessment and asking them for their observations.



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