Germany in breach of EU law on ETS - Commission

16 April 2014 13:59 Source:ICIS

The EU has formally called on Germany to comply with its laws on emissions trading, after the country has failed to transpose the EU emission trading system (ETS) directive fully into national law since 2003.

The European Commission published a reasoned opinion, or second-stage complaint in EU infringement proceedings, on its website on Wednesday.

The warning refers to the German legal system’s exclusion of polymers when accounting for emissions under the EU ETS, an EU spokesman said, adding that these are specifically covered by the bloc’s climate policy instrument.

“To date, the German national legislation does not transpose all the requirements of the Directive with regard to its scope,” the statement read. The commission asks the country to act to comply with EU law on the EU ETS.

The EU infringement procedure is made up of three steps: firstly, a letter of formal notice, when the commission notifies a country if it thinks there is a possible breach of law. The member state then has the opportunity to draft a response, which the commission then evaluates.

If the commission still thinks that the country is in breach following its explanation, the commission sends out a second opinion. If the member state fails to act on this, the commission can take a country to court, where it can choose to ask for a financial penalty or not.

Following the publication of the second opinion on Wednesday, Germany now has several months to respond, a commission spokesman said.

The German carbon registry had not responded to questions about what steps the country plans to take, if any, in response to the commission’s warning as ICIS went to press. Marie-Louise du Bois

By Marie-Louise du Bois