Ulster Unionist Economy Spokesperson, Sandra Overend, has called on the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to speed up full transposition of the EU Energy and Gas Directives or risk bearing a proportion of huge financial penalties from the European Commission totalling as much as 296,355.84 Euros daily. This is following the European Commission announcing on Thursday that it has sought permission from the ECJ to impose fines on the UK.
The Mid Ulster MLA said:
‘‘The United Kingdom is currently failing to comply with obligations under EU Law in relation to Directives on Gas and Electricity and as a result have been referred to the European Court of Justice. The Minister Arlene Foster has confirmed to the DETI Committee that if this situation continues then the Executive, through the Block Grant, will have to bear a proportion of the financial penalties which are imposed. For the whole of the UK this could be as much as 148,177.92 Euros daily for each of the partially transposed Directives.’’
‘’In short, the Minister must take action now in bringing forward the relevant legislation and enacting necessary administrative changes to ensure that these potentially huge infraction fines are avoided. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where these directives have not been given effect, and as such the UK is subject to fines. Given that it may only take around 9 months for the ECJ to come to a decision and impose a fine, it is clear that time is of the essence.’’