Brussels, 16 June 2011 - The European Commission has requested Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom to implement a Directive on promoting clean and energy-efficient vehicles, in accordance with their obligations under European Union law. The deadline for implementation of the Directive was 4 December 2010. The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. If the Member States fail to inform the Commission within two months of measures taken to ensure compliance with EU law in this respect, the Commission could refer the cases to the EU Court of Justice.
The EU rules
Directive 2009/33 requires the public sector to use its purchasing power to promote clean and energy-efficient vehicles. Every time they purchase a vehicle for public transport services, they must take into account energy consumption, CO2 emissions and pollutant emissions over the whole lifetime of vehicles. Thus, the real costs to be encountered over the lifetime operation of vehicles are anticipated, giving a relative advantage (lower lifetime costs) to vehicles that pollute less and consume less energy. The obligation extends to all purchases of road transport vehicles by public authorities or by transport operators charged with public service obligations.
The aim is to stimulate the market for clean and energy-efficient vehicles and to prompt development and investment by the industry. Increased sales will help reduce costs through economies of scale and will result in progressive improvement in the energy and environmental performance of the whole available vehicle fleet.
The practical effect of non-implementation
Failing to implement this Directive appropriately means that public authorities and transport operators in the Member States concerned may not be obliged to purchase of clean and energy-efficient vehicles. This could slow down improvements in the energy and environmental performance of the road vehicle fleet within the EU.
For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/408.
Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)
Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)