Energy Community celebrates fifth anniversary
25. October 2011. / Uncategorized
Established five years ago to increase socio-economic stability and security of supply, the Energy Community has set a good example of regional cooperation in which the EU and South-Eastern European countries can diversify their energy sources, according to a press release from the European Commission: “The Energy Community has proved to be an appropriate framework to boost business and favour sustainable growth,” said EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger – “Now comes the time for the full implementation of the regulatory and legal framework set by the Community.”
The Energy Community entered into force in 2006, and aims to extend the EU internal energy market to South East Europe and enhance the overall security of supply. The parties have committed themselves to liberalise their energy markets and implement key EU legal acts in the area of electricity, gas, environment and renewable energy. Eastern Partnership countries Moldova and Ukraine are both members of the Energy Community, while Armenia and Georgia have observer status. Today, the Energy Community has a regional market of 73 million citizens, and up to 98% of its budget is financed by the EU.
So far, the Energy Community has created a functioning institutional framework, which has enabled Contracting Parties to align their rules to EU standards. The adoption of key EU legislation has helped them open their electricity and gas markets to competition, based on the Second Energy Package, including common rules on access to the market and energy efficiency measures. Contracting Parties have also recently committed to the implementation of the Third Energy Package by 2015.
The next steps will consist in enhancing market reforms and boosting investments in the energy sector. To that end, the Energy Community will mainly tackle the investment challenges in the coming years, such as the replacement of existing power plants and the modernization of electricity networks. It will also work towards the establishment of strong energy authorities with enough resources and independence to ensure effective competition and efficient operation of the energy market, with a view to boosting investments.
As a coordinator of Energy Community activities, the European Commission will promote investments in the region and offer specific advice on structural reform. The Contracting Parties will create a regional strategy, which will examine the needs and potential of the region, including an investment plan.
The final objective is the full integration of the regional market in the European internal energy market. According to Energy Commissioner Oettinger: “When fully implemented, it will ensure that citizens and companies benefit from fair competition on energy markets and are protected against unexpected power cuts.”
The Energy Community Treaty has been signed between the European Union and the following nine Contracting Parties: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro Serbia, Ukraine and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244.
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