PRESS RELEASE: The Energy Community Ministerial Council adopts the EU’s Third Internal Energy Market Package
Chisinau, Moldova 6 October 2011 Today, the Energy Community Ministerial Council decided to adopt the European Union rules on the Internal Market for electricity and gas known as "Third Package". According to the ministers’ decision, the Contracting Parties now have a legal obligation to implement these rules by January 2015, at the latest.
“The Energy Community is a reference for regional cooperation in the energy field. Today’s adoption of the third package marks a significant step forward in the Energy Community and shows that Contracting Parties are ready to overcome existing obstacles and to progress together with their EU partners towards a Paneuropean energy market’’, stated Mr. Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy. Mr. Valeriu Lazar, Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova and Energy Community Presidency in Office, added, “Today we have created the fundaments for a single energy market that will one day reach from Dublin to Chisinau and from Tirana to Helsinki.” At the same time, he noted; “the implications of the package are far reaching. We not only have to revise our laws, but there will also be fundamental changes in market structures.”"Today's decision is not the end of the road, but – on the contrary – just a first step, and we now need to start working on how to implement this decision in practice", added Mr Fabrizio Barbaso, Deputy Director General for Energy at the European Commission.
The Ministerial Council decision includes special deadlines for provisions such as the rules on unbundling or on certification of transmission system operators from third countries, and clarifies the role of the Energy Community institutions in the practical implementation of the adopted rules. The Ministerial Council moreover stressed the need to start aligning the region’s network codes with those of the European Union without delay.
The ministers in Chisinau also accepted Armenia as Observer to the Energy Community. For the first time, the Energy Community Ministerial Council debated a concept on the development of a regional energy strategy. The aim is to define a regional framework based on which national strategies can be further developed and aligned. A regional power development and investment plan should form an integral part of the strategy. There also is a common understanding that the strategy should be developed by representatives of the Parties, together with the Donors Community and private investors. To kick off the process, the ministers agreed to establish a Regional Energy Strategy Task Force.
Finally the Ministerial Council approved an Implementation Plan for Gas Infrastructure Development in the Energy Community, based on the concept of a "Gas Ring" that should link the markets of single Contracting Parties into a regional market configuration directly integrated with their neighbouring countries and contributing to the security of supply of the region.
BACKGROUND ON THE 3rd ENERGY PACKAGE: The Energy Community Treaty entered into force in July 2006. At that point, the second internal energy package formed the backbone of its legal framework. In order to make its energy market fully effective, the EU adopted in July 2009 the third legislative package for an internal EU gas and electricity market. Shortly thereafter the discussion in the context of the Energy Community evolved. This echoed the understanding that the Energy Community should implement amendments to the acquis in order to reflect the evolution of the EU law. In September 2010 the ministers adopted a recommendation, which today was transformed into a legally binding decision.
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