The European Commission has asked Italy, the Netherlands and Poland to take action and ensure that the Energy efficiency in buildings directive is fully transposed into national law. Under this Directive, Member States must establish and apply minimum energy performance requirements for new and existing buildings, ensure the certification of buildings' energy performance and require the regular inspection of heating and air conditioning systems. In addition, the directive requires Member States to ensure that from 2021 onwards all new buildings will be nearly ‘zero-energy’ buildings. The Directive had to be transposed by 9 July 2012. Italy and the Netherlands have already received a reasoned opinion for failing to adopt any measures to transpose the Directive, in January and June 2013 respectively. Both countries have adopted transposition measures in the meantime, but some of the provisions of the Directive still remain non-transposed. Regarding Poland, in July 2014 the Commission decided to refer the country to the Court of Justice of the EU. Shortly afterwards Poland responded with the adoption of measures to transpose the Directive. However, following a further analysis by the Commission it appears that a few of the Directive’s provisions have still not been transposed. The Commission has therefore sent additional reasoned opinions to the three Member States asking them to fully transpose the remaining provisions of the Directive. The additional reasoned opinion to Poland suspends the decision for a referral to court. If the Member States do not comply with their legal obligation within two months, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice at a later stage which could as well include financial penalties. As no Member State had transposed all the EU rules under this Directive by the deadline, the Commission opened infringement procedures against all 28 Member States. In 2014, the Commission decided to refer four Member States to court (Austria, Belgium, Finland and Poland). Meanwhile, as Belgium and Finland had fully transposed the Directive, the Commission decided to withdraw the court cases against the two Member States. Since then most Member States have now complied with their transposition obligation and the only infringements remaining open are against Austria, Italy, the Netherlands the Czech Republic and Poland. Further legal action regarding these cases could be expected in the following infringement cycles. More information about the Energy Efficiency in Buildings Directive is available on the website of DG Energy.
(For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186)