Austria should pay 40,000 euros a day for green law breach-Commission

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 20, 2013 8:34 AM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Austria should pay a daily fine of more than 40,000 euros ($54,000) for breaking EU policy on renewable energy, the European Commission said on Wednesday.

The Commission, the EU executive, has asked the Court of Justice of the European Union to approve the fine and said it might also bring similar cases against other member states.

"We are committed to reaching our energy and climate targets by 2020. To this end, the enforcement of the renewable energy legislation in all the member states is vital," EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in a statement.

The Commission is seeking to enforce energy and environment targets for 2020, including a goal that 20 percent of energy use should come from green sources.

The 2020 targets are expected to be followed by 2030 energy and environment law, which should be outlined in January.

The Commission said the parts of legislation Austria still needed to complete related to grid access for electricity from renewable sources and sustainability criteria for biofuels.

The decision to ask for a daily fine follows a series of warnings to Austria, dating back to 2011. It is unclear when exactly the court, whose cases sometimes drag on for years, will consider the fine.

If agreed by the European Court of Justice, the proposed daily fine of 40,512 euros would be paid from the date of the court decision until Austria complies with EU law.

Austria would have the right to appeal.

No-one at the Austrian environment ministry was immediately available for comment. ($1 = 0.7394 euros)

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis, additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan in Vienna; editing by Keiron Henderson)