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C 118/102 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 29.4.


Generally, the Commission considers that possible risks of liberalisation (e.g. more energy consumption
due to lower prices) will be outweighed largely by the positive effects liberalisation will have on the
environment, such as the interconnection of the systems favoured by the creation of a liberalised single
market which means that reserve capacity can become smaller per country with less waste of natural
resources. Also the introduction of competition will lead to increasing energy efficiency, because waste of
resources is translated into higher prices, which will lead to a loss of customers in a competitive situation.
In addition, further liberalisation and competition on prices will lead to a quicker switch over to the
cheaper, and most importantly, cleaner resource of natural gas as a fuel for electricity generation.

Finally, the opening of the market, and the accompanying measures envisaged to promote access to the
grid of electricity generated by renewables, are expected to provide new opportunities for the
environmentally friendly renewable energies to take a bigger share of the market.

(1) SEC(93) 785 final.

(1999/C 118/126) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2606/98

by David Hallam (PSE) to the Commission

(1 September 1998)

Subject: Implementation of the working time directive

If the United Kingdom proceeds to implement the working time directive with a 14 day, rather than a 7 day,
reference period, which means that workers can be asked to work for 12 days in a row without a break for
Sunday or other day for religious observance, would the UK be breaching the directive and would it be
stepping out of line with the way other EU Member States have implemented the directive? What are the
reference periods so far chosen by other Member States?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission

(9 October 1998)

Under Article 16(1) of Council Directive 93/104/EC (1) concerning certain aspects of the organisation of
working time, Member States may lay down a reference period not exceeding 14 days for the application
of Article 5 (weekly rest period). As the Court of justice in Case C-84/94 (2) annulled the second paragraph
of Article 5 relating to Sunday rest, there is nothing to preclude a Member State from adopting a reference
period of 14 days as regards the weekly rest period.

The situation in the Member States varies significantly and is very complex. In some, Sunday is
considered in principle as the day for the weekly rest period. However, in a number of sectors and
activities work during Sunday is permitted, even in Member States which have provisions relating to work
on a Sunday. The Commission is currently undertaking a thorough examination of Member States
implementation measures with a view to presenting an implementation report on the working time
directive. The issue of reference periods will also be addressed in this report.

(1) OJ L 307, 13.12.1993.

(2) ECR 1996, page I-5755.