The European Commission (EC) advanced formal proceedings against four European Union (EU) member states on Tuesday for failing to meet EU requirements under the biofuels directive.
The EU has set a target of 5.75% biofuel use in fuel consumption by 2010 with an intermediate reference value of 2% in 2005. However, the share of biofuels in the EU gasoline and diesel market was only 0.6% in 2003 and still less than 1% in 2004, according to the Commission.
Biofuels are the only known substitute for fossil fuels in transport today. They contribute to our security of energy supply, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs in rural areas. Most Member States are going to great lengths to increase the use of biofuels and I regret that a small number of them have yet to join in on this effort.—Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs
The actions taken include:
Sending Finland a reasoned opinion (2nd stage in the legal proceeding) for setting a 2005 intermediate target below the 2% reference value;
Sending Denmark a letter of formal notice (1st stage in the legal proceeding) for setting a 2005 intermediate target below the 2% reference value;
Sending Luxembourg a letter of formal notice due to an incomplete biofuel report for 2005; and
Sending Italy a reasoned opinion for its failure to submit a report.
The next step after the issuance of a reasoned opinion is bringing the matter before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
At the same time, the European Commission closed its cases against Greece, Ireland and Poland. Those countries originally set low targets for 2005 without giving adequate reasons but have adopted more ambitious targets for later years since.
The EC is still examining replies to letters of formal notice on the same subject from Hungary and the United Kingdom.
Separately, the EC send letters of formal notice to eight European countries for failing to comply with the EU renewable electricity directive, which has been in place since 2001. The directive aims at increasing the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources to 21% by 2010.
Four countries (Italy, Poland, Czech Republic and United Kingdom) have failed to report on progress in implementing the directive, and five others (Italy, Latvia, Cyprus, Greece and Ireland) have taken insufficient measures to promote renewable energies, according to the EC.