- Neighbouring countries to help each other manage gas crises
- Cross-border solidarity: share gas when necessary
- Transparency of gas supply contracts
An EU country facing an urgent gas shortage can trigger cross-border assistance from its neighbours, under new cooperation rules approved by Parliament.
Sufficient gas supply for households, district heating and essential social services such as hospitals take priority. A member state can activate the solidarity mechanism and call on other member states to help tackle a severe crisis.
Regional cooperation to cope with gas crisis
The new rules establish four “risk groups” of member states, which will take part in “risk associated cooperation” and undertake joint risk assessments and joint preventive and emergency measures.
There will be three energy supply crisis levels – early warning, alert, and emergency – which member states can declare by informing the European Commission and the competent authorities in their risk groups and in adjacent member states.
The European Commission will have the right to request access to any gas supply contracts important for security of supply (representing 28% of the annual gas consumption in the member state). The Commission can also ask for the details of other commercial agreements that are relevant to set up the gas supply contract, including gas infrastructure contracts.
Jerzy Buzek (EPP, PL), rapporteur, said:
”Our citizens must never be left without gas flowing to their homes.
Member States are committing to help each other if gas supplies to citizens are disrupted. The new Regulation will strengthen regional cooperation in emergency planning and crisis prevention, and make gas contracts more transparent.”
The regulation was approved by 567 votes to 101 against, with 23 abstentions.
Once endorsed by Council, the revised Security of Gas Supply Regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and enters into force 20 days after publication.
This new regulation is a central part of the sustainable energy security package presented by the Commission in February 2016. Together with the revised legislation on Intergovernmental Agreements ( adopted in March 2017) the package increases overall transparency on the gas market and strengthens the EU’s resilience to gas supply disruptions. A full list of member states included in the four ‘risk groups’ can be found in Annex I to the Regulation.