Exceptional free emission allowances for power generation in Greece

30 May 2016
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Notis Marias (ECR)

The Commission proposal of 15/7/2015 regarding the European emissions trading system (ETS) for 2021-2030 amending Directive 2003/87/EC fails to remedy existing shortcomings.

Aside from Italy, none of Greece’s neighbours are required to purchase emission allowances for power generation, either because they are not EU Member States or because they are exempt from that requirement because of their low GDP. This is leading to distortions of electricity prices and competition, as reflected in increased electricity imports by Greece, threatening the viability of its Public Power Corporation.

Also, while the proposal provides for free emission allocation for power generation in Member States with per capita GDP below 60% of the EU average in 2013, the reference year, this does not include Greece, whose per capita GDP that year was just above the cut-off level (62%), although it met the requisite criterion in 2014 (59.7%).

In view of the continued recession created by the memorandum requirements, the rise in energy poverty and the loss of competitiveness of Greek companies, will the Commission take the necessary measures to ensure that Greece is exceptionally accorded free emission allowances for power generation?


Answer given by Mr Arias Cañete on behalf of the Commission
With regard to the potential cross-border effects resulting from the use of the existing derogation to provide free allocation to electricity production by other Member States close to Greece, the relevant applications to make use of this derogation were subject to state aid assessment by the Commission which took into consideration concerns in relation to potential impacts on competition. Furthermore, the total quantity of such free allocation is limited in proportion to the historic emissions associated with gross domestic electricity production and declines to zero in 2020.

The European Council reached an agreement in October 2014 on how to determine the eligibility for certain Member States to provide continued free allocation to the power sector in the period post-2020 based on GDP per capita in 2013 in EUR at market prices. The GDP figures for Greece for 2013 are above this threshold. The Commission proposal for a revision of the Emissions Trading System post-2020 fully respects the European Council conclusions and hence, Greece is not eligible to give free allocation to the power sector.


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