Brussels, 21 April 2009
European Parliament votes to support new
rules strengthening the EU internal energy market
President Barroso and Energy Commissioner Andris
Piebalgs have welcomed today's vote of the European Parliament backing new rules
to strengthen the EU's internal energy market. The new legislation is expected
to give consumers more protection and the benefit of the lowest possible energy
prices while offering companies the chance to compete on a level playing field.
In addition the legislative package will promote sustainability by stimulating
Commission President, José Manuel Barroso said, "This is a major step
towards a truly integrated European energy market, and the right European Union
response to the structural challenges we face. It is good news for business and
citizens alike who need competitive prices and security of energy supply. The
adoption of the internal market proposals shows that Europe can deliver on its
"This is about getting a better deal for both consumers and businesses.
Consumers will benefit from better protection and the lowest possible prices,
while companies will have a chance to gain more business in a competitive
market. A clear regulatory framework for a functioning internal gas and
electricity market will help the EU to meet the challenges of climate change,
increased energy import dependence and global competitiveness," said Energy
Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
The main objective of the legislative package is to put in place the
regulatory framework needed to make market opening fully effective and to create
a single EU gas and electricity market in the interest of achieving the lowest
possible energy prices and better security for the citizens and the industry of
the European Union. The package promotes sustainability by stimulating energy
efficiency and guaranteeing that also small companies, in particular those
investing in renewable energy, have access to the energy market. A competitive
market will contribute to greater security of supply by improving the conditions
for investment in power plants and transmission networks, and thus helping to
avoid interruptions in power or gas supplies. Ensuring fair competition between
EU companies and third country companies is another key objective of this new
legislation. It is expected that the Council will formally endorse the text
approved today by the Parliament within the next few months.
Today's vote of the Parliament preserves the key elements of the Commission's
proposal of 19 September 2007.
- Ensuring more effective regulatory oversight from truly independent and
competent National Energy Regulators.
- Facilitating cross-border energy trade by establishing an EU Agency for the
Cooperation of Energy Regulators, with powers to adopt binding decisions. While
National Regulators will be responsible for dealing with national energy
matters, the EU Agency will focus on cross-border issues and the internal
- Promoting cross border collaboration and investment with a new European
Network for Transmission System Operators. Grid operators in the Union will
cooperate and develop common commercial and technical codes and security
standards, as well as plan and coordinate the investments needed at EU level.
This would also ease cross border trade and create a level playing field for
- Increasing solidarity. By bringing national markets closer together, Member
States will be better equipped to assist one another in the face of energy
- Creating a level playing field by separating effectively the production and
sale of energy from the transmission of energy. This is to avoid companies
involved with both the generation and transmission of energy to use their
privileged position on transmission to block access to transmission grids to
other suppliers. Unbundling supply from transmission activities of integrated
companies will serve to eliminate conflict of interests, promote network
investment and prevent any discriminatory behaviour.
- Increasing transparency. Steps to improve market transparency on network
operation and supply will guarantee equal access to information, make pricing
more transparent, increase trust in the market and help avoid market
The vote of the EP also strengthens the Common
Position adopted by the Council in January 2009 on several key issues:
- The rights of citizens are put at the centre of the market opening process
with strong obligations on Member States to protect energy consumers.
- Market opening should not be detrimental to vulnerable customers. Strong
obligations are provided for as regards to the fight against energy poverty.
- The implementation of intelligent metering systems is provided for with a
target of 80 % of the population to be covered by 2020. The installation of
smart meters allows for consumers to be precisely informed of their consumption
and promotes energy efficiency.
- Proper regulatory oversight should be ensured: the powers and independence
of National Energy Regulators are strengthened, as well as the powers of the
Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.
The package is
- A Regulation establishing the EU Agency for the cooperation of National
- An Electricity Directive replacing Directive 2003/54
- A Gas Directive replacing Directive 2003/55
- An Electricity Regulation replacing Regulation 1228/03
- A Gas Regulation replacing Regulation 1775/05