A memo put out by the unelected EU commission earlier this week is compelling evidence for why the UK should hold an EU referendum before our remaining industries are forced to flee to less oppressive taxation regimes. The excerpt below contains the relevant passages on why the EU is taking legal action.
What is the Energy Efficiency Communication?
The Communication on “Energy Efficiency and its contribution to energy security and the 2030 Framework for climate and energy policy” (onwards, the Energy Efficiency Communication) does two things:
It assesses whether the EU is on track to reach its 2020 target to increase energy efficiency by 20% and outlines what is necessary to ensure that the target is achieved.
It proposes a new energy saving target of 30% by 2030. This completes the 2030 Framework on Climate and Energy which was adopted by the European Commission on 22 January 2014. The Framework called for a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels and for a renewable energy share of at least 27% of energy consumption, and indicated that the cost-effective delivery of the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target requires increased energy savings (http://ec.europa.eu/energy/2030_en.htm). That is what today’s communication is delivering on. When setting the target, the Commission aims to strike the right balance between expected benefits and costs.
Why is it being presented now?
The European Council is scheduled to take a final decision on the new climate and energy policy framework at its meeting on 23/24 October 2014. Therefore, it is crucial that the Commission puts forward its vision on energy efficiency now. By proposing an energy saving target of 30% for 2030, and assessing whether the EU is likely to reach its 2020 target, the Communication provides the Heads of State or Government with all the relevant information to discuss and set a comprehensive EU energy and climate policy framework for 2030.
Where do the Member States stand with the implementation of the energy efficiency legislation?
Despite some good progress, currently only Cyprus, Denmark, Italy, Malta, and Sweden have so far declared full transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive in their respective national legislation. Other Member States are expected to declare this shortly, however, as the 5 June 2014 deadline has just passed. The Commission has just launched infringement proceedings against those Member States which have not yet fully transposed the Directive.
Since the adoption of the Energy Efficiency Directive in 2012, the Commission has been working very closely with the Member States to ensure that it is properly implemented. If all EU Countries actively contribute, the 2020 target will be reached; if they do not, it is expected to be missed by 1 to 2 percentage points.
Moreover, two years after the legal deadline, nine Member States (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Croatia) have still not fully transposed the related Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.
Only a handful of Member States are carrying out proper market surveillance over products covered by energy efficiency requirements.
How does the Commission ensure that Member States transpose the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive?
On 22 July 2014 (http://ec.europa.eu/eu_law/infringements/infringements_decisions_en.htm), the Commission launchedinfringement proceedings and sent letters of formal notice to the 24 Member States which had not yet notified sufficient measures for fully transposing the Energy Efficiency Directive into their national laws at that moment.
Moreover, the Commission has already referred Austria, Belgium, Finland and Poland to the Court for failure to fully transpose the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and issued reasoned opinions against four Member States.