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How are EU Directives Implemented Nationally?

Most EU legislation is framework for national legislation, and the effects of the EU rules are crucial depending on the ways they are integrated in national legislation. The different EU countries are implemeting the directives in very different ways. For each directive some countries are using the implementation to initiate or improve progressive policies e.g. for sustainable energy while others are doing the implementation with minimal changes of national legislation to conform with the requirements of the directive, but without much impact. This means that directives only are binding on the member states, to whom they are addressed, which can be a group of the member statens or just one member stat.

For directives for renewable energy and energy efficiency the national legislation is key to achieve the EU and national goals of sustainable energy and climate policies. Additionally implementation can include or exclude other sustainability issues. An example of this is the biofuels directives, where the implementation can include or exclude environmental criteria for agriculture for biofuels.

Knowledge about good national implementation is important as inspiration for implementation in other countries, and to set a 'best practice' for implementation and maybe for future legislation. Implementation must be efficient (lead to expected improvements) and sustainable (not lead to other environmental problems).

We have on this site included overview of implementation for some directives:

If you have good or bad examples of implementation, please let us know. Send an email to We will gradually expand the overview of implementation.

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