EUROPE: The European Commission has sent letters of formal notice to Italy and Romania for failing to notify national measures on penalties for infringements of the F-gas regulations.
Under the rules adopted by member states under the F-gas regulations (517/2014), penalties should have been in place by 1 January 2017.
“To date, the Commission has not received any such notification from Italy and Romania. If the Member States concerned do not reply satisfactorily within two months, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion,” the Commission says.
Member states can set their own penalties, the European Commission merely insisting that “the penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive”. As a result, penalties vary widely. In the UK, for instance, infringements can result in fines from £1,000 to £200,000 (€1,120 to €225,000), in Germany its €100 to €50,000 and Poland has set fines between PLN600 and PLN30,000 (€140 to €7,000).
The letter of formal notice is the first step in the Commission’s formal infringement procedure. Italy and Romania must send a detailed reply within two months. If the Commission concludes that the country is failing to fulfil its obligations under EU law, it may send a reasoned opinion: a formal request to comply with EU law. If a country still doesn’t comply, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice.
Italy has been behind many other European countries, only implementing the F-gas regulations into Italian law at the beginning of this year.
Responding to the formal notice today, Romania’s Ministry of the Environment said that the draft normative act providing for sanctions under the F-gas regulations was in “the inter-ministerial approval phase”.