Energy agreements: informal deal on more support from the European Commission
On Wednesday afternoon, the negotiators of the European Parliament and the Council reached an informal agreement on the information exchange mechanism about energy supply deals between EU member states and third parties.
"The main objective of this file was the security of the energy union. European citizens can now be more confident that the energy supply will be safer. The future assessment by the European Commission of the intergovernmental agreements will be more efficient.", said rapporteur Zdzisław Krasnodebski (ECR, PL) at the end of negotiations.
Member States’ obligations
Once this Decision enters into force, a Member State entering into negotiations with a third country in order to amend or to conclude an intergovernmental agreement on energy must inform the Commission in writing, and provide the Commission “with indications of the provisions to be addressed in the negotiations and the objectives of the negotiations.”
European Commission’s assistance
In response to the notification from a Member State, the Commission may provide it with advice on how to avoid the incompatibility of the agreement to be negotiated with Union law, including relevant optional model clauses and guidance that the Commission will develop in consultation with Member States.
At the request of the Member State, or when it considers it necessary, the Commission may participate, or request to participate in the negotiations as an observer; however, if the Commission requests it, its participation shall be subject to the written approval of the Member State concerned.
The Commission has five weeks to inform the Member State concerned that it has doubts about the deal under negotiation, and other 12 weeks to provide its opinion on the compatibility with Union law, in particular with internal energy market legislation and Union competition law.
In case the Member State did not take into consideration the Commission’s opinion in the ratified version of the agreement, it should, without undue delay, explain to the Commission in writing the reasons underlying its decision.
The agreed text will need to be formally approved by Parliament and Council before it can enter into force.
- ‘Intergovernmental agreement’ means any legally binding agreement, regardless of its formal designation, between one or more Member States and one or more third countries, or between one or more Member States and an international organisation that concerns: (i) the purchase, trade, sale, transit, storage or supply of gas or oil in or to at least one Member State, or (ii) the construction or operation of gas or oil infrastructure with a physical connection to at least one Member State