The Energy Community Secretariat is the only permanently acting institution of the Energy Community responsible for supporting the day-to-day activities of the Energy Community and monitoring the implementation of the Treaty establishing the Energy Community. The Secretariat prepares and assists in the preparation of all institutional meetings of the Energy Community as well as additional events on policy issues that relate to the acquis.
As of 2017, the Secretariat has 31 staff members holding 19 nationalities. In addition, the Secretariat regularly offers internship and secondment opportunities. Since 1 December 2012, the Director of the Secretariat is Mr Janez Kopač. In the performance of its duties, the Secretariat must be impartial and not seek or receive instructions from any Party to the Treaty.
The Energy Community Secretariat has its seat in Vienna, Austria. 1 February 2006 marked the commencement of the Secretariat’s operational activities. The official inauguration of the Secretariat followed on 26 June 2006, in the presence of former European Commissioner for Energy, Mr. Andris Piebalgs, and Austrian Minister for Economy, Mr. Martin Bartenstein. The Agreement between the Republic of Austria and the Energy Community regarding the seat of the Secretariat of the Energy Community entered into force in August 2007.
Prior to the Treaty’s entry into force, an interim Energy Community Secretariat was established as a non-profit association under Austrian law on 1 April 2005. Working on a project basis, the association derived its financing from European Commission CARDS Programme. Its activities were regulated on the grounds of a grant contract between the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour and the European Commission.
Guardian of the Treaty
Guardian of the Energy Community Treaty
The Secretariat is charged with reviewing the implementation by the Parties of their obligations under the Energy Community Treaty. Every year, the Secretariat submits an Annual Implementation Report to the Ministerial Council, which outlines the progress achieved by the Parties in implementing the acquis communautaire. The Secretariat also reviews compliance of draft legal acts prior to their adoption and conducts country missions to advise on the correct implementation of the acquis upon a Party’s request.
The Third Energy Package gave the Secretariat new tasks. The Secretariat is to issue an opinion on the national regulatory authority’s certification of a transmission system operator’s compliance with the unbundling provisions under the Third Energy Package. The national regulatory authority is to adopt the final certification decision taking the utmost account of the Secretariat’s opinion. Prior to issuing its opinion, the Secretariat is to consult the Energy Community Regulatory Board. Moreover, the Secretariat is also responsible for verifying that the criteria for a new infrastructure project to be exempted from third party access as defined by the Third Energy Package are met. In its opinion, the Secretariat may ask the national regulatory authority to amend or withdraw its exemption decision.
Under the dispute settlement mechanism, the Secretariat, upon a complaint or on its own motion, may initiate a case of non-compliance by a Party with Energy Community law. Under such circumstances, the Secretariat issues an Opening Letter to be followed, as the case may be, by a Reasoned Opinion and Reasoned Request to the Ministerial Council.
Provider of TA
Provider of technical assistance
When deemed necessary, the Secretariat provides technical assistance to the Contracting Parties financed from the Energy Community budget. Recently, the Secretariat provided such technical assistance for the preparation of legislation on emergency oil stocks, sustainability criteria for biofuels in the transport sector and improvement of completeness and quality of energy statistics necessary to comply with the Energy Community acquis.
Due to its specialized expertise, the Secretariat may manage technical assistance financed by EU or national grants. Under an EU grant contract, the Secretariat was put in charge of technical assistance to Western Balkan 6 Contracting Parties for supporting the creation of a regional electricity market. The project “Technical Assistance to Connectivity in the Western Balkans - Component 2: Regional Energy Market” is aimed at removing the existing legislative and regulatory barriers and enhancing the institutional structures necessary for the functioning of the market in line with the Energy Community Treaty.
The Secretariat also signed a grant contract with the European Commission for providing technical assistance to Eastern Partnership countries in the framework of the EU4Energy Programme. The initiative covers six countries - Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Belarus and focuses on improvement of energy legislative and regulatory frameworks; implementation of policy recommendations and investment promotion for key energy infrastructure strategic projects.
Under a grant contract with the Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, the Secretariat provided targeted support to Ukraine to lay the groundwork for the implementation of the Third Energy Package in the area of electricity. The project deliverables included a comprehensive set of more than 20 pieces of secondary legislation.