EU acts on energy laws

The European Commission yesterday decided to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice and sent it a warning letter over its lack of progress in implementing directives concerning the energy sector. In the first instance, Greece, along with Spain and Portugal, were referred to the court for failing to transpose into national legislation Directive 2003/54/EC on the opening up of the internal electricity market, which elsewhere in the EU has provided freedom of choice of supplier for industrial customers since July 1, 2004 and is scheduled to do so for domestic customers from July 1, 2007. «The directive (along with one concerning the natural gas market) will determine the shape of the EU energy market in the years to come and will serve as a basis for the development of energy partnerships with the EU’s neighbors, in particular in the Western Balkans,» said the Commission in a press release. «This legislation is an essential step toward the completion of a truly competitive EU energy market and vital for the success of the Lisbon strategy,» said Andris Piebalgs, the commissioner responsible for energy. Biofuels In the second instance, Greece and eight other member states (France, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal, Finland, Estonia and Slovenia) received reasoned opinions for failure to implement European legislation on biofuels. Member states had, within 2004, to transpose Directive 2003/30/EC into national legislation, send the Commission a national report with an indicative target for the share of the petrol and diesel market that will be taken by biofuels at the end of 2005, and explain any difference between this target and the 2 percent «reference value» in the Directive (a further target of 5.75 percent has been set for 2010). Despite letters of formal notice sent in February, the Commission noted that the recipient countries have still not informed it of the measures they have taken to transpose the directive, and that the set targets of several of them (including Greece’s 0.7 percent) fall short of the desired level. It also said it has sent the states reasoned opinions, the last stage before referral to the European Court. Biofuels include biodiesel, made from oil seeds (especially rape) and used cooking oil; bioethanol, made from grain and sugar crops; and biogas, made from landfill gas and farm waste. In Greece, the Center for Renewable Energy Sources ( operates a biogas center. The Commission said it will publish an overall report on the functioning of the EU energy market before January 1, 2006.

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