Closer cooperation and reinforced solidarity to ensure security of gas supply
The Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on a proposal for a revised regulation concerning measures to safeguard the security of gas supply. The agreement will have to be confirmed by the member states Permanent Representatives (Coreper).
The general purpose of the regulation is to minimise the impact of a potential gas disruption by improving the cooperation between member states and thus contributing to a better functioning internal energy market. The proposal translates into concrete actions the first dimension of the Energy Union, “energy security, solidarity and trust”.
The proposed regulation, as well as the decision regarding intergovernmental agreements (IGA”s), are two of the main building blocks of the Energy Union strategy.
This legislation will make a major contribution to our energy security. It will reduce our dependency on others for our energy supplies and enable us to deal more quickly and efficiently with any gas supply crises. It will also contribute to build greater trust and solidarity both within the EU and with our partners from the Energy Community”
Konrad Mizzi Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta
The main new elements of the regulation are:
- enhanced regional cooperation and coordination set on risk-based groups of member states
- mandatory regional preventive action plans and emergency plans, as well as regional risk assessments, to be prepared jointly by all member states within the same risk-group
- a solidarity mechanism which will have a mandatory application in extreme crisis scenarios
- increased monitoring of provisions in the gas supply contracts
- specific obligations of EU member states towards the Energy Community, as well as Commission powers to coordinate the application of the legal framework between the EU and the Energy Community
Following extensive work under the Netherlands and Slovak presidencies and four trilogues during the Maltese presidency, an agreement was reached on the following key issues:
- regional cooperation: will include the concept of Emergency Supply Corridors in the simulations to be prepared by ENTSO-G. The Commission will give support to members in the risk groups in the preparation of prevention action plans and emergency plans
- solidarity: it will be used as a last resort mechanism after all the emergency measures have been exhausted and it will give rise to adequate compensation. The member state requiring solidarity will be able to seek the most advantageous offer if there are several delivering member states. The concept of “solidarity protected customer” is introduced.
- information exchange: long-term gas contracts, which provide 28% of annual natural gas consumption will be notified to the competent authority in the member state concerned. For commercial agreements only details of the contract will be provided. Existing contracts will be notified 12 months after the regulation enters into force. If the competent authority has doubts about the impacts of such contract on the security of gas supply in the member state and in the region, it shall notify the Commission
- In case of key gas supply contracts which may jeopardise the security of supply of a member state, region or of the Union as a whole, the Commission may request the undertaking to provide the details of the contract.
Following approval by the Coreper, the Chairman of Coreper will then send a letter to the Chairperson of the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee.
That letter will indicate that, if the Parliament adopts at its plenary session the compromise text as approved by the Coreper, the Council will adopt the text in first reading without amendments.
The legislative act will enter into force after being published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The European Council of March 2015 agreed on the commitment for the EU to build an Energy Union and called for inter alia accelerating infrastructure projects, including interconnections, in particular to peripheral regions, for electricity and gas to ensure energy security and a well-functioning internal energy market.
The Commission presented its proposal on 16 February 2016, replacing Council regulation 994/2010.
The European Parliament’s ITRE Committee voted on the report together with the EP negotiation mandate on 13 October 2016.
In its meeting of 5 December 2016 the Energy Council set out the political guidelines which allowed for the negotiations to start with the European Parliament