Estonia fails to transpose a number of EU directives

  • 2023-04-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonia has failed to duly transpose into its national legislation the provisions of EU directives concerning environmental impact assessment, seasonal workers, accessibility and renewable energy, according to the European Commission.

The European Commission decided on Wednesday to send a reasoned opinion to Estonia for its failure to bring its national legislation in line with the directive on environmental impact assessment.

This directive requires certain public and private projects which are likely to have significant impact on the environment to be subject to an environmental impact assessment before being authorized. Estonia has still not correctly transposed certain requirements of the directive, for instance those relating to projects for the use of uncultivated land or semi-natural areas for intensive agricultural purposes, installations for the manufacture of artificial mineral fibers or installations for the processing and storage of radioactive waste.

The European Commission also decided to open infringement proceedings by sending a letter of formal notice to Estonia for failing to transpose in a fully conform manner all provisions of the seasonal workers directive. The directive aims at ensuring fair and transparent rules for the admission of third-country seasonal workers to the EU. 

It also aims at granting decent working and living conditions, equal rights and sufficient protection from exploitation. Ensuring the full respect of the seasonal workers directive is an important prerequisite for attracting the workforce needed for seasonal work to the EU and it could also contribute to reducing irregular migration.

In the Commission's assessment, Estonia has also failed to fully transpose the EU rules on accessibility of products and services for persons with disabilities. The European Accessibility Act requires key products and services such as phones, computers, e-books, banking services and electronic communications to be accessible for persons with disabilities. Estonia has not fully transposed the European Accessibility Act into its national law by the deadline of June 28, 2022.

The European Commission also decided to send a reasoned opinion to Estonia for not having fully transposed EU rules on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources.

This directive provides the legal framework for the development of renewable energy in electricity, heating and cooling, and transport in the EU. It sets an EU-level binding target for 2030 of at least 32 percent renewable energy and includes measures to ensure support for renewable energy to be cost-effective, and to simplify administrative procedures for renewable energy projects. It also facilitates the participation of citizens in the energy transition and sets specific targets to increase the share of renewables in the heating and cooling and transport sectors by 2030. The deadline to transpose the directive into national law was June 30, 2021. To date, Estonia has only partially transposed the directive.

Estonia now has two months to comply with the transposition obligation and notify the Commission. 

In its regular package of infringement decisions, the European Commission pursues legal action against member states for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law. These decisions, covering various sectors and EU policy areas, aim to ensure the proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.