Brussels, 7 December 2010
Energy: European Commission proposes to strengthen regional cooperation
Cross-border regional energy cooperation delivers lower prices and higher security of supply, and is a crucial building block of a competitive European Single Energy Market. Today, the European Commission has set out its ideas on how to reinforce such regional cooperation. In its Communication "The future Role of Regional Initiatives" published today, it identifies new tasks of Regional Initiatives such as the development of cross-border infrastructure and the implementation of the Third Energy Package including network codes. It also proposes a new governance structure of existing Regional Initiatives and an adjustment to their geographical scope to make regional cooperation more effective. Regulators, transmission systems operators and other stakeholders are invited to express their views on these ideas by the 15th of February 2011.
The European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger said: "The Regional Initiatives have a key role in creating a truly integrated single energy market as they favour a strong cooperation including on infrastructure. We have to use their potential wisely and make sure that we reap all the benefits a well-targeted and effective regional cooperation can offer."
The Regional Initiatives were initiated in 2006 by the European Commission and the European Regulators' Group for Electricity and Gas (ERGEG) as an intermediate step from national markets to European scale which would favour further integration.
In its Communication, the Commission proposes that the Regional Initiatives concentrate on more targeted goals, in particular on the following actions:
The European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) should monitor and coordinate the work of Regional Initiatives to ensure greater coherence of the regions' work programmes.
The Commission proposes that the number and composition of the geographical regions for gas is adapted by adding Italy to the South Region (France, Portugal, Spain) and by splitting the current South, South-East region into three new regions:
For the electricity regions no change is envisaged but flexible ad-hoc cooperation should be allowed when needed, for instance for the North Seas Offshore Grid Initiative.
The 7 Electricity and 3 Gas Regional Initiatives (RIs) were set up on an ad hoc basis. Each RI gathers National Regulators, Member States, the Commission and other interested parties from neighbouring countries. The Regional Initiatives aim at the correct implementation of the Second Energy Package and especially those parts of the acquis requiring cross-border coordination. The RIs are:
The Regional Initiatives (RIs) have been beneficial in providing a forum for regulators, network operators and other stakeholders of neighbouring countries to discuss issues of common interest.
More information on the Communication and maps of the Regional Initiatives here:
A study "From regional markets to a single European market" on the Regional Initiatives has been published on the website of the Commission:
To participate to the public consultation on the Communication: