EBB calls for inquiry into suspect intra-EU biodiesel trading
Reports allege that certain operators are taking advantage of “unfair discounts” granted by the Polish national biofuels law.
The European Biodiesel Board (EBB), an industry association that represents around 75 percent of European biodiesel production, has recently alerted the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), an independent agency under the European Commission (EC), and national Member State (MS) authorities on alleged trade distortions on the EU internal biodiesel market.
According to a statement, the EBB has been receiving reports alleging that certain operators, active on the Polish and EU transportation fuel markets, are taking advantage of “unfair discounts” granted by the Polish national biofuels law. The reports imply that said operators are exporting significant physical volumes of biodiesel that have been “officially but untrustworthy declared” as blended – under RED mandates – with gas-oil sold in the Polish territory. Cheaper fossil diesel is substituting the Polish claimed volumes of biodiesel, counted towards the national blending mandate, with the physical biodiesel volumes being sold on to Romania, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy.
The volumes involved in the alleged racket are significant, in the region of 20 000 to 25 000 tonnes per month. The suspected operators appear willing to risk fraudulent declarations with the same physical material used twice, in Poland and in another EU country, to fulfil RED based mandate objectives, resulting in a corresponding unfair market advantage.
EBB point out that if the allegations are confirmed then there are serious implications for the implementation of the RED and sustainability regulations apart from a breach of EU and national legislation. If claims cannot be relied upon then reported target fulfilment will be questioned and trigger “retroactive verification and penalties” at national and EU levels.
– The EBB is deeply concerned by these allegations of such fraudulent behaviour that are a flagrant breach of EU law and principles. We are highly committed to stopping the flow of any ineligible biodiesel, which is highly disruptive and noxious to the integrity and competitiveness of the EU biodiesel market. Operators need to be aware that this might have severe – and also retroactive – effects both on mandates compliance and on sustainability rules and certification. We will actively strive to identify the source of the problem, as well as find effective solutions that will keep the EU internal market for biodiesel united and functioning at a level-playing field again, stated Alain Brinon President of EBB.