Austria, Poland face fines over energy waste law

VIENNA Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:47am EDT

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VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria and Poland face fines for failing to implement EU law on making buildings more energy-efficient, the EU executive said on Thursday.

The European Commission is asking the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in Luxembourg to apply a penalty of 96,720 euros ($131,900) against Poland and 39,593 euros against Austria for every day they do not comply with EU law.

The European Union aims to cut Europe's annual primary energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020. Buildings account for about 40 percent of that consumption and more than a third of EU carbon-dioxide emissions, it says.

The EU directive says member states must establish and apply energy performance requirements for all buildings, ensure certification of buildings' energy performance and require the regular inspection of heating and air-conditioning systems.

The directive - which was meant to be transposed into national law by July 2012 - also says member states must ensure that by 2021 all new buildings are nearly zero-energy, meaning they use roughly the same amount of energy as they create.

The Commission asked the ECJ to apply similar fines against Belgium and Finland in April, and is also examining the situation in Slovenia, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy and the Czech Republic. [ID:nL6N0N82LK]

If the ECJ finds in favor of the Commission, the daily penalty will be applied from the date of the court's judgment until the country has complied with EU law. The court has the power to decide on the precise amount of any fine.

($1 = 0.7331 euros)

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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