REPORT FROM BRUSSELS / EUROPEAN ENERGY COMMISSION:"The amendments of the Industries Commission to Emergency Government Ordinance 64 cannot be approved"

Ancuţa Stanciu (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
English Section /

"We prefer dialogue, but we may resort to the European courts as well, if things don't work out" 

The European Commission is encouraging dialogue with the Romanian authorities concerning Emergency Government Ordinance 64 of 2016 concerning the natural gas sector, but if the issues on this matter cannot be resolved, we may resort to the European Court of Justice, European energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, said in a meeting in Brussels with the representatives of the Romanian energy sector.

When asked by deputy Virgil Popescu on his view on the amendments that had been made, in the Romanian parliament to the Emergency Ordinance 64/2016, which stipulate that 70% of natural gas produced in Romania would have to be traded on one exchange, namely OPCOM, as the European Commission has already opened an infringement procedure for blocking the natural gas exports, Canete said: "We have an energy legislative package and one of the aspects concerns the liberalization of the market. It is a complex process, with various transition periods. In this process, the European Commission is encouraging dialogue, instead of going to the Court of Justice, where proceedings are lengthy and we are going to waste time.

It is clear that Romania is at a crucial point as far as its energy sector is concerned, especially when it comes to the natural gas market. As far OUG 64, we had some expectations concerning the fact that this ordinance would be approved in Romania and we would proceed with the infringement. The fact that the ordinance is now stuck in the parliament shows that things aren't going in the right direction".

The European Commission said that the European institution has proposed some solutions for overcoming this deadlock, encouraging all the involved actors to have a balanced attitude: "The European Commission has launched a dialogue, we are looking to find solutions, but if those provisions remain, we will have to act accordingly. My message is clear: these amendments cannot be approved. There are alternatives, but certain principles need to be fulfilled, for more competition, more transparency, intensification of competition, so that consumers get better choice and the best prices".

The Romanian Supreme Country Defense Council (CSAT) has sent a letter, at the end of last year, to the Industries Commission, recommending the review of Emergency Government Ordinance no. 64/2016 for the amendment and completion of the Law of Electricity and natural gas no. 123/2012 of the Working Group for Strategic Infrastructure and Energy Security.

Last year, the Industries Commission has brought several amendments to EGO 64/2016 amending the law of natural gas, according to which 70% of the Romanian natural gas would have to be traded on the OPCOM exchange, which displeased the Romanian Commodities Exchange (BRM), which also has a license for the trading of natural gas.

PSD deputy Iulian Iancu has repeatedly accused that behind the accusations in of the BRM were in fact OMV and Gazprom, which would want to move to Vienna the trading of natural gas, so that Gazprom could bring to Romania a bigger volume of Russian natural gas.

Iulian Iancu also said that if the natural gas in the Black Sea are going to be exported, instead of sold on the Romanian exchange, this will hurt Romania's natural security.

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