June 23. 2024. 1:16

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Austria could  be fined for not transposing EU energy efficiency law

Austria may be fined for not transposing the original 2018 version of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive due to be transposed at the start of 2021, a turn of events for which the opposition blames the lack of unity within the government.

After adopting the energy efficiency directive in 2018, its revision was announced as part of the bloc’s climate package in 2021. While the revised version is already in the final stages of re-negotiation, Austria has yet to transpose the 2018 version into law.

Not transposing the first version of the directive could result in Austria receiving a €7 million fine, according to an internal government letter, APA reports.

“Thanks” to the government’s inability to pass an energy efficiency law in time, Austria is facing EU fines in the millions of Euros, said Alois Schroll, energy policy spokesman for the social democrat SPÖ (S&D), referring to the Green-led Climate Ministry have so far failed to convince its coalition partner ÖVP after presenting a total of 12 draft transposition laws.

EU commissioners will likely meet in the second half of April to discuss whether to request the EU Court fine Austria.

Until then, the government’s constitutional service recommends that the parliament’s economic committee reaches a first-level agreement as a show of goodwill.

Since energy efficiency legislation touches on state competence, the Austrian government must assemble a two-thirds majority in parliament, for which it must rely on the opposition party SPÖ.

However, while the ÖVP wants the SPÖ to sign onto a compromise before the committee vote, the SPÖ, wary of the matter’s urgency, wants a committee vote to be held first.

(Nikolaus J. Kurmayer | EURACTIV.de)