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Belgium, Finland face daily fines for breach of energy waste law

Source: Reuters - Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:46 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* Daily fine would apply from date of EU court judgment

* EU says new buildings must be near "zero energy" by 2021

BRUSSELS, April 16 (Reuters) - Belgium and Finland face fines for failure to implement European Union law on making buildings more energy efficient, EU regulators said on Wednesday.

The European Commission, the EU executive, is asking the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg to apply a penalty of 19,178.25 euros ($26,500) against Finland and of 42,178.50 euros against Belgium for every day that they do not comply with EU law.

EU law on reducing energy waste means 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.

In addition, the directive, which has to be translated into national law, requires member states to ensure that by 2021 all new buildings are nearly zero-energy buildings, meaning the amount of energy used by the building is roughly equal to the amount of energy the building creates.

The law was meant to be transposed into national law by July 2012, but Belgium and Finland failed to meet that deadline.

If the court finds in favour of the Commission, the daily penalty would be applied from the date of the court's judgment until the nation has complied with EU law.

The court has the power to decide on the precise amount of any fine.

($1 = 0.7234 euros) (Reporting by Barbara Lewis; editing by Jason Neely)

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