Brussels, 4 October 2012
Commissioner Oettinger welcomes Council adoption of the Decision on the intergovernmental agreements’ mechanism
Günther Oettinger said: "This is a first pragmatic step to increase transparency on intergovernmental agreements in the energy field. It will help increase compliance and consistency with the EU legislation. It will also help provide legal certainty for investment decisions often underpinned by intergovernmental agreements and enhance the negotiating position of Member States. We will closely monitor the effectiveness of the legislation and continue to encourage a more ambitious approach, reflecting the EU's energy challenges and objectives."
Today the Council adopted the Decision establishing an information exchange mechanism for intergovernmental agreements between Member States and third countries in the field of energy. This piece of legislation requires obligatory notification of existing intergovernmental agreements to the Commission, which will make these agreements available to all other Member States. The Decision also confirms the possibility for the Commission to participate upon request of a Member State in negotiations as observer. It also provides the possibility for the Commission to perform upon request from a Member State ex-ante compatibility checks of negotiated agreements with the EU legislation.
The Decision will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU, which is expected in November.
Once this piece of legislation enters into force, Member States will have three months to share their existing intergovernmental agreements with the Commission, indicating any confidentiality concerns they may have. Every time a Member State signs a new agreement of this kind it will have to notify it. The Commission will perform an assessment of the submitted agreements within 9 months, raising any doubts it may have with Member States. At any time after the entry into force of the Decision, a Member State may ask the Commission to perform a compatibility check of the negotiated, but not yet concluded agreement with the EU legislation.