The EU's Renewable Energy Directive - Consistent with WTO Rules?
Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources has been adopted on 23 April 2009. The ambitious plan to increase the share of renewables in their energy consumption to 20% by 2020 includes a 10% goal for the use of renewables in transport alone. Renewable energy could come from a variety of sources, but for transport the main source of renewable energy is biofuel. Overall, the Directive is mostly in line with obligations under the GATT Agreement, but certain elements will likely be considered a violation of GATT Art. III:4, in particular the land-use criteria and the setting of default values. The same conclusion can be reached regarding a violation of GATT Art. I:1. Non-sustainable biofuels are also subject to a restriction on importation within the European Union, which is a violation of GATT Art. XI. However, most of these measures can be justified under the exception clause provided by GATT Art. XX.
Malorie Schaus & Andreas Lendle