European Commission takes seven EU Member States to task for not passing Aviation EU ETS legislation
Fri 26 Nov 2010 – The European Commission has asked seven EU countries – Cyprus, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – to speed up the adoption of legislative and administrative measures to transpose the Aviation EU ETS directive into national law. Under the directive (2008/101/EC), Member States were required to transpose the directive before 2 February 2010. Following the recommendation of Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, the Commission has sent ‘reasoned opinion’, the last step of an infringement procedure, to the seven States concerned, with the implied threat that continued non-compliance could be referred to the European Court of Justice.
Under EU rules, Member States are required to inform the Commission once they have adopted the necessary implementation measures. As the Commission had not been notified by the seven countries, it issued a letter of formal notice to them on 25 March. Since then, the countries concerned have indicated that legislative works are in progress but have yet to enact the legislation.
According to an expert, Member States that do not pass national legislation transposing the directive do not have the powers to enforce the Aviation EU ETS on aircraft operators assigned to them. However, if an operator fails to submit a verified Tonne-Kilometre report by the directive’s 31 March 2011 deadline then it will not receive its free allowance entitlement, regardless of whether the directive has been transposed.
According to Philippe Langumier of the French DGAC, the Competent Authority administering aircraft operators assigned to France, one of the seven Member States named, the main part of the transposition was achieved last month through an ordinance that sets out the legislative provisions. He says the regulatory provisions are awaiting approval by the Conseil d’Etat, which he expects will be carried out within the next two months.
Langumier points out that all provisions relating to the monitoring, reporting and verification processes under the Aviation EU ETS still apply without the need for formal transposition of the EU directive.
From 1 January 2012, aircraft operators that operate flights arriving at and departing from EU airports will be subject to inclusion in the Aviation EU ETS. The legislation covers all 27 EU Member States and is expected to be extended soon to non-EU countries Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Earlier this month, the Commission proposed opening negotiations on linking the wider EU ETS with Switzerland’s domestic trading system. While Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are already covered through their membership of the European Economic Area agreement, this would be the first formal process to link the EU ETS with the emissions trading system of a third country.
Commissioner Hedegaard said: “Linking the EU ETS with the Swiss system is another step towards building an OECD-wide emissions trading market which can later be extended to include more advanced developing countries. As the carbon market is the key tool for delivering emission reductions at least cost, these developments will facilitate international action to achieve the deep emission cuts that will be needed to keep global warming below 2 degrees C.”