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The Czech Republic

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1) REFERENCES

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2009 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 708 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 503 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 703 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1746 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1402 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1200 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]

2) SUMMARY

The July 1997 Opinion expressed the view that the Czech Republic should be in a position to comply with most EU energy legislation over the next few years, provided that current efforts were maintained. However, it stated that matters such as the adjustment of monopolies needed to be closely followed. No major difficulties were foreseen for compliance with Euratom provisions, although the Opinion stated that due attention should be paid to nuclear safety standards in order to bring all nuclear plants to the level required. In addition, long-term solutions needed to be found for waste.

The November 1998 Report generally confirmed this initial assessment, in particular with regard to the need for close attention to be paid to and further efforts to be made in certain sectors such as the adjustment of monopolies. It also drew attention to the matters of nuclear safeguards and waste management.

The October 1999 Report called for further efforts to bring the legislation more into line with the acquis. In the field of nuclear energy, no problems were expected with alignment to the Euratom acquis. However, the improvement of nuclear safety had to be further addressed, and long-term solutions found for nuclear waste.

The November 2000 Report confirmed that, although some progress has been made with the legislation, far more efforts were required for alignment with the energy acquis. That said, the Energy Policy adopted in January 2000, which sets out the long term sectoral strategy, created the necessary basis for further preparation.

In its November 2001 Report the Commission noted that the Czech Republic had made considerable progress since the previous report, in particular through the adoption of the new Law on energy which seeks to bring Czech legislation in line with the Community acquis and constitutes an important development in the energy sector. It provides for the progressive liberalisation of the electricity and gas markets. The Czech Republic had also set up a number of agencies monitoring application of legislation in this area. However, more progress was needed in energy efficiency. As regards nuclear energy, progress had been made in improving nuclear safety, in particular at the Temelin nuclear power plant. The Czech Republic had reached agreement on this subject with its neighbour Austria. The safety of the plant had caused concern in Austria. The provisions in this area needed to be further improved.

The October 2002 Report noted that considerable progress had been made in preparing for the internal energy market. The gas and electricity sectors are now generally well prepared for the competitive internal energy market through the privatisation of major players in the gas market, the restructuring of electricity utilities and the broadly cost-reflective electricity prices.

The 2003 Report points out that the Czech Republic is essentially meeting the commitments and requirements arising from the accession negotiations in the energy sector. The Czech Republic needs progressively to build up oil stocks in line with the schedule agreed during the negotiations, and it must complete alignment by adopting the implementing legislation required in the gas sector.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

The key elements of the energy acquis are Treaty provisions and secondary legislation, particularly concerning competition, State aid, the internal energy market (including directives on electricity, price transparency, gas and electricity transit, hydrocarbons licensing, emergency response and, in particular, security stock obligations), nuclear energy, energy efficiency and respect for the environment.

The Community acquis in the field of nuclear energy today comprises a framework of legal and political instruments, including international agreements. It currently addresses issues of health and safety (including radiation protection), safety of nuclear installations, management of radioactive waste, investment, promotion of research, creation of a nuclear common market, supplies, safeguards and international relations.

The White Paper (preparing the associated CEECs for integration into the EU internal market) underlines, in the section on energy, the need for full application of key internal market directives in combination with EC competition law. As for the nuclear sector, the White Paper refers to problems of supply, safeguards and waste shipments.

EVALUATION

The entry into force of the new Law on energy in January 2001 is an important step on the way towards alignment with the acquis in particular with regard to the internal energy market. It provides the legislative framework for regulating the market and covers a number of technical issues concerning the electricity and gas sectors and also the heating sector.

The Czech Republic has transposed a large part of the current acquis in this sector and should now ensure that the legislation is implemented in its entirety within the period laid down. To this end, the administrative capacity of the new bodies should be strengthened.

Progress has been made with regard to security of supply. The Law on strategic oil reserves adopted in November 1999 provided for the 90 days of stocks required under the acquis to be reached in 2005. The Czech Republic has further increased its oil reserves, bringing them to a level close to that required (80 days).

The Czech Republic has made progress with regard to competitiveness and the internal energy market. The Law on energy provides for progressive liberalisation of the electricity market from 2002. The market should be fully opened up in 2006. Bodies have been set up for ensuring compliance with the competition rules, protecting consumers and monitoring application of the Law on energy and the Law on energy management. However, there is a risk that the deferment of deadlines for privatising State-owned gas and electricity companies and regional gas and electricity distribution companies will compromise the readiness of privatised companies for market liberalisation measures already planned. The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Energy Regulatory Office have issued a considerable amount of implementing legislation with the aim to implement the Energy Act.

In 2003, the Czech Republic introduced implementing legislation in accordance with the acquis. As regards gas, it has only partially transposed the legislation and it needs to complete transposition in order to prepare the opening of the gas market. Market opening in the gas and electricity sectors is taking place in line with the commitments made in the negotiations.

With regard to nuclear energy, the European Union has repeatedly emphasized the importance of a high level of nuclear safety in the candidate countries. The Czech Republic is continuing work to complete the Temelin nuclear power plant and its extensive modernisation programme. Work is in progress to modernise the Dukovany power plant. There has been strong public concern, in particular in neighbouring Austria, about tests carried out at the Temelin plant and questions concerning its design. In December 2000, the Czech Republic and Austria concluded an agreement under which the Czech Republic carried out a more detailed and complete assessment of the plant's impact on the environment. The Commission headed a group of experts to evaluate the plant's safety. The tests are now subject to stricter control. The European Council adopted a report on nuclear safety in June 2001 in connection with enlargement. In addition to issuing recommendations addressed to all the candidate countries, the report recommends specific measures for the Dukovany and Temelin power plants. Overall, practices for regulating the nuclear industry in the Czech Republic are comparable with those in Western Europe. An amendment to the Atomic Act was approved and entered into force in 2002.

However, the Czech Republic should ensure compliance with Euratom requirements and procedures, in particular with regard to Euratom safety checks.

Concerning solid fuels, the Czech Republic must continue to prepare for the application of EU State aid regulations for the hard coal industry and will have to abolish any import restrictions for hard coal upon accession.

As regards energy efficiency, the Government adopted the first Annual State Support Programme for Energy Saving and the Use of Renewable Energy Sources, based on the National Programme for Economic Energy Management and Use of Renewables. The administrative structures needed in this area are in place but need to be strengthened.

The Czech Republic participates in the Community programme for energy efficiency, Save II (1).

(1) Decision of the Association Council between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Czech Republic, of the other part, of 27 November 1998 adopting the terms and conditions for the participation of the Czech Republic in the Community programme for energy efficiency, SAVE II.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

 
Last updated: 08.03.2004
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