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The European Commission will have an insight into intergovernmental energy agreements

8 December 2016

The European Commission will have an insight into intergovernmental energy agreements

On Wednesday, 7th December, the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the mechanism for information exchange in the area of energy agreements between EU Member States and third countries.

On Wednesday, 7th December, the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the mechanism for information exchange in the area of energy agreements between EU Member States and third countries. Negotiations on this issue were led by prof. Zdzislaw Krasnodębski, rapporteur and coordinator of the ECR Group in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.

The agreement provides that Member States will be obliged to inform the European Commission about the planned intergovernmental agreements covering supply and transit of natural gas and crude oil, as well as the construction and use of the necessary infrastructure. Before the conclusion of agreements, they will be evaluated by the Commission for compliance with EU law and the overriding objective of energy security.

In case of doubt on the agreement, the EC authorities will be obliged to express them within five weeks and to provide a detailed opinion within the next twelve weeks. Until then, the finalization of the agreement will not be possible.

The Commission will also be able to claim a place at the intergovernmental negotiations as an observer. In any case, Member States will be able to impose the presence of the Commission in this role in the energy negotiations with a third country, thereby strengthening their bargaining power.

The agreement also includes a clause on the revision of the regulations and the possibility of extending the scope of the verification also for the contracts on the supply and transit of electricity and the construction or operation of related infrastructure.

In the text there was also a reference to the legally non-binding instruments, such as agreements on cooperation in the field of energy. The criteria for notification are not here as strict as in the case of intergovernmental agreements, but for the first time non-binding and political instruments are defined in EU law, which opens up for a more detailed review of these instruments in the future.

“The main objective of this agreement is the energy security of individual countries. EU citizens are gaining more confidence in the field of energy supply. With this decision the most politically sensitive energy agreements will be notified to the European Commission before they are signed, which will facilitate the detection of projects that threaten the energy security of any Member State. It’s definitely one of the most important agreements in the field of energy security in this term of the EP and the first legislative act of laying the groundwork for a larger project, which is the EU Energy Union”- said prof. Zdzislaw Krasnodębski.

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