Improving the security of energy supply by developing the internal energy market: more efforts needed (European Court of Auditors' Special Report No 16/2015) - Implementation in Action

13-04-2016

The Court of Auditors' report found that although progress had been made, the objective of completing the internal energy market by 2014 had not been reached, and that more and better targeted infrastructure initiatives were needed. A generally broad agreement exists between ECA and the European Commission about what the priorities are to increase the effectiveness of the internal energy market, i.e. increase regional cooperation, improve cross-border capacity and review ACER's powers. The European Commission's Energy Union framework will be the main instrument to increase implementation, strengthen European cooperation and harmonise standards across energy networks. However, given that the composition of the energy market is within the remit of Member States, their individual priorities will also influence any Europe-wide efforts. While agreeing with ECA that an EU-level infrastructure needs assessment was important, the European Commission did not see the need to bring more analytical capacity in-house. In terms of funding, while more rigorous funding criteria will come into force in 2016, the European Commission disagrees with ECA that legislation is needed to ensure that key infrastructure projects benefit the internal market, arguing that flexibility in EU funding is key to success. Given that most legislative proposals planned for Energy Union have yet to come, it will be important to monitor to what extent these initiatives meet the concerns outlined by ECA in this report and reflect the demands made by Parliament in its recent resolutions.

The Court of Auditors' report found that although progress had been made, the objective of completing the internal energy market by 2014 had not been reached, and that more and better targeted infrastructure initiatives were needed. A generally broad agreement exists between ECA and the European Commission about what the priorities are to increase the effectiveness of the internal energy market, i.e. increase regional cooperation, improve cross-border capacity and review ACER's powers. The European Commission's Energy Union framework will be the main instrument to increase implementation, strengthen European cooperation and harmonise standards across energy networks. However, given that the composition of the energy market is within the remit of Member States, their individual priorities will also influence any Europe-wide efforts. While agreeing with ECA that an EU-level infrastructure needs assessment was important, the European Commission did not see the need to bring more analytical capacity in-house. In terms of funding, while more rigorous funding criteria will come into force in 2016, the European Commission disagrees with ECA that legislation is needed to ensure that key infrastructure projects benefit the internal market, arguing that flexibility in EU funding is key to success. Given that most legislative proposals planned for Energy Union have yet to come, it will be important to monitor to what extent these initiatives meet the concerns outlined by ECA in this report and reflect the demands made by Parliament in its recent resolutions.