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Bulgaria, Estonia, UK Fined, Referred To European Court Over Energy Market Rules

In its monthly package of infringement decisions, the European Commission is pursuing legal action against Member States for failing to comply properly with their obligations under EU law. These decisions covering many sectors aim at ensuring proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses. The Commission on Thursday took 171 decisions, including 24 reasoned opinions and 10 referrals to the European Union's Court of Justice, out of which 7 include financial penalties.

The Commission is referring Bulgaria, Estonia and the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fully transpose the EU internal energy market rules. Bulgaria, Estonia and the UK have only partially transposed the Electricity and Gas Directives. The Directives had to be transposed by the Member States by 3 March 2011. For Bulgaria, for each partially transposed Directive, the Commission proposes a daily penalty of EUR8448. For Estonia, the Commission proposes daily penalties of EUR5068.80 for the partially transposed Electricity Directive and of EUR4224 for the partially transposed Gas Directive. For the United Kingdom, the Commission requests the Court to impose a daily penalty payment of EUR148177.92 for each of the partially transposed Directives. The penalties proposed take into account the duration and the gravity of the infringement. In case of an affirmative judgment of the Court, the daily penalty is to be paid from the date of the judgment until the transposition is completed.

In another decision, the Commission asked the European Court of Justice to impose a fine on Portugal because it has not respected a Court judgment requiring it to follow EU telecoms rules when deciding who should provide universal service in Portugal. The Commission is suggesting a lump sum of EUR5277.30 per day for the period between the 2010 judgment and eventual second Court ruling.

Also on Thursday, the Commission decided to refer Bulgaria to the Court of Justice over the assignment of digital broadcast spectrum. The Commission found that the procedure followed by Bulgaria was based on disproportionately restrictive award conditions, leading to the exclusion of potential candidates.

The Commission also decided to refer the Netherlands to the Court for not adequately protecting the rights of employees on maternity, adoption or parental leave related to their return to work.

The Commission is referring Poland to the Court for failing to guarantee that water pollution by nitrates is addressed effectively. Europe has strong legislation on pollution from nitrates, and although the requirements have been applicable in Poland since 2004, too little has been done. Poland has still not designated a sufficient number of zones that are vulnerable to nitrates pollution, and measures to effectively combat nitrates pollution in these zones have not been adopted, the Commission said in a press release.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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