The Commission has launched legal action against several EU countries for failing to transpose directives on electricity generation from renewables and biofuels in transport.

The EU renewables directive has been in place since 2001. It aims at increasing the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources to 21% by 2010.

On biofuels, the EU has set itself a target of increasing their use in fuel consumption to 5.75% by 2010 with an intermediate reference value of 2% in 2005. However, the Commission notes that the share of biofuels in the EU petrol and diesel market was "only 0.6% in 2003 and still less than 1% in 2004".

The Commission launched legal proceedings against eight EU member states on Tuesday (4 April) for failing to meet an October 2003 deadline to comply with EU legislation on electricity produced from renewable energy sources. four countries (Italy, Poland, Czech Republic and United Kingdom) have failed to report on progress in implementing the directive which has been in place since 2001 five others (Italy, Latvia, Cyprus, Greece and Ireland) have taken "insufficient measures" to promote renewable energies, such as facilitating fair access to the power grid the countries were sent "letters of formal notice", which is the first stage in the legal proceeding.

Separate legal proceedings were launched against four countries for failing to meet EU requirements under the biofuels directive Finland was sent a "reasoned opinion" (2nd stage in the legal proceeding) for setting a 2005 intermediate target below the 2% reference value Denmark was sent a "letter of formal notice" (1st stage) for the same reason Luxembourg was sent a "letter of formal notice" (1st stage) "due to an incomplete biofuel report for 2005" while Italy failed to submit the report altogether ("reasoned opinion") at the same time, the Commission closed cases against Greece, Ireland and Poland and said it was still examining responses from Hungary and the UK.

A reply is still expected from Italy, the Commission indicated.