EU Warns Four Countries over Missing CO2 Plans
The Commission sent "reasoned opinions" to the four countries, the final legal step before taking them to the European Court of Justice -- Europe's highest court.
The plans are the cornerstone of the European Union's emissions trading scheme.
Companies receive permits to emit CO2 -- the main gas blamed for global warming -- and trade them on a market. EU states set limits on how much CO2 power plants or oil refineries may emit, and the companies buy or sell the allowances based on whether they overshoot or undershoot their caps.
The plans for the next trading period from 2008-2012 were due to the Commission on June 30. Aside from the four nations that have yet to submit, France withdrew its plan at the last minute last month in the face of likely rejection by the EU.
"For the good functioning of the Emissions Trading Scheme we will have no choice but to take them to court if they do not send their allocation plans soon," Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement.
The Commission said it was also taking action against seven member states "for failing to provide complete reports on their progress in limiting or cutting greenhouse gas emissions".
The seven were France, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Estonia, Luxembourg and Spain.
The Commission also said it was taking Finland, Sweden and Portugal to the European Court of Justice for failing to ensure proper treatment of urban waste water in a significant number of towns and cities.