EUROPE – The European Commission has announced that it will be rolling out stricter EU energy efficiency and performance laws in 2016 and that it will continue to further enforce existing regulations.

Maroš Šefčovič, the Commission vice-president, confirmed that the new rules would have more stringent requirements compared to the existing Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

Mr Šefčovič did however concede there was little or no chance of national governments agreeing to upwardly revise their target of increasing their energy efficiency by 27% by 2030, a figure which was only agreed upon last October and which may be reviewed in 2020.

On the 18th of June, the Commission referred Greece to the European Court of Justice for failing to implement the EED. Greece now faces having to pay a daily penalty of almost €30,000 until such time as it is fully compliant with the directive.

Other countries on the naughty step are Germany, Austria, Portugal, Croatia, Bulgaria, Ireland, Latvia and Romania who have all been issued with a final warning. The next step for those aforementioned countries will be an appearance in front of EU judges if they continue to renege on their responsibilities.

In March of this year, the Commission took legal action against every EU member state, with the sole exception of Malta, for failing to enshrine the EED in their national constitutions. March also saw Hungary being referred to the European Court of Justice for their lack of movement on the issue.

The Commission’s executive would like to see Budapest face a daily fine of €15,444 for not transposing the directive by the June 2014 deadline. Mr Šefčovič also hinted that this was not the end of court proceedings and that more enforcement actions would follow.

As of the 18th of June the bloc is 100% dependent on energy imports for the year and spends more than €1bn every day to import the energy it needs.

Mr Šefčovič is currently touring Europe to enlist more support for the Energy Union, which hopes to create a grid where shortfalls in one part of the EU can be accounted for by surplus energy elsewhere in Europe.