Commission Refers Poland to Court of Justice of the EU because of Restrictions to Some Imported Biofuels and Biofuel Raw Materials
(European Commission) The European Commission decided today to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU for establishing restrictions in Polish law against certain imported biofuels and raw materials for biofuel.
Polish law is not fully in line with EU law. Firstly, fuels can only be marketed if specific fuel requirements are in place, but such requirements do not exist for hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), a biofuel that is imported into Poland. Secondly, preferential treatment is given to fuel operators who source at least 70% of their biofuels – liquid or gaseous fuel for transport produced from biomass – from Polish manufacturers and when the biofuels are produced predominantly from raw materials originating in certain countries. This preferential treatment discriminates against biofuels manufacturers and raw material producers in other countries.
The Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2009/28/EC) requires that all Member States must ensure that at least 10% of all energy consumed in transport come from renewable sourcesby 2020. Biofuels can be used to achieve this target, provided that they meet the Directive’s sustainability criteria. Member States also must treat sustainable biofuels and their raw materials equally regardless of their origin. This follows from the need to reconcile renewable energy objectives with a functioning and unrestricted market for biofuels.
In February 2014, the Commission sent to Poland a letter of formal notice under Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU). In April 2015, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion. However, the Polish authorities have still not completely addressed the Commission’s concerns. This is notably due to the fact that the Polish authorities disagree with the Commission’s interpretation of the Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2009/28/EC). Therefore, the Commission deems it necessary to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.