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General agreement reached on third energy package

Today in Luxembourg, EU Energy Ministers reached agreement on key elements of all five legislative proposals on the single energy market (the third energy package), which also contains a new compromise proposal put forward after the meeting of the Senior Energy Officials at the beginning of May in Slovenia, in cooperation with the Presidency country and the European Commission. Council President Andrej Vizjak commented, “It is an extraordinary achievement, one that is important for the further development of the energy market. The Council has thus fulfilled the commitment made by the Energy Ministers at the Meeting of the Council in February and that of the Heads of State and Government at the spring European Council.”

The ministers agreed that the adoption of proposals that go in the direction of efficient unbundling of energy companies is of key importance for the future development of competition on the energy markets. Apart from ownership unbundling, the compromise proposal also contains the possibility of establishing an independent transmission operator (the ITO option), which is linked with a vertical parent company. The proposal assures a high level of autonomy in the management and supervision of the independent system operator and also in his network development investment decisions. There is also a planned provision on inspection, on the basis of which the actual performance and autonomy of operation of the independent transmission operator is determined. The Slovenian compromise proposal has thus unified the different positions of the 27 EU Member States, finding points in common, and it represents a very sound foundation for the technical completion of all five legislative proposals in the third legislative package for the single energy market.

The agreement applies to the electricity and gas markets. In the long term, this compromise proposal means better, more efficient and more competitive functioning of the market, which is important for consumers. It is a step forward in establishing competition and the independence of transmission network operators from other market functions in energy, which will certainly improve the delivery of energy.

The ministers also discussed the significant progress achieved by the Presidency on the legislative package of measures on climate change and renewable energy. The ministers’ debate focused on the Directive on renewable energy sources, and Council President Andrej Vizjak emphasised that the search for solutions should be extended much more widely, “The efforts and changes in the behaviour of individual citizens, in the management of companies and changes in policies at all levels will be decisive.” 


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Date: 06.06.2008