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Strong warning from European Commissioner for Energy: Regulators must be completely independent. BRUA continues

de Victor Bratu 2.10.2017

The European Commission monitors the real independence of the regulators in the member states and will take all necessary steps to ensure that it is observed, Miguel Arias Canete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, warned on Thursday.

The independence of national regulators, not just in Romania but in any country, is an essential element of the European energy legislation. The Commission monitors the real independence of regulators from all member states and we shall take all necessary steps to ensure that member states meet their obligations in this respect. We monitor many member states to see if their national regulator is completely independent,” the European official said at a press conference held in Bucharest, quoted by Agerpres.

The statement comes in the context of the talks held in Bucharest on transferring some activities of the Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) to the Government, under a reorganization announced this month by the Energy Minister Toma Petcu.

At that time, representatives of the ANRE leadership warned that the transfer of responsibilities intended by the Government contravenes the European law:

“In 2007, we have assumed the status of EU member, we have accepted these rules that we want to change though. We cannot say (…) that we want ANRE, this energy market arbitrator, to be under the authority of the Government or other political entity. It means going back to the 1990s (…)

A political coordination of ANRE would be a huge step back that would clearly trigger an infringement from the European Union. This arbitrator cannot be subject to the control of any political party, both in fact and in theory,” Florin Tobescu, Head of Service within ANRE, explained on 9 September.

We do not want the regulators to be subordinated to any entity but to be independent, autonomous and so the markets will properly operate, without any interference,” the European Commissioner stressed Thursday at a press conference after meeting with the Energy Minister.

Romanian Parliament decided on Wednesday to establish a parliamentary inquiry committee on the activity of the Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE). After finalizing this committee’s report, the reorganisation of ANRE will be decided.

The European official’s statements were made at the 4th ministerial meeting of the Central and South-Eastern European regional initiative in the energy field (CESEC), organized in Bucharest and attended by representatives of the European Commission, the Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič, responsible for the Energy Union, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Canete and Energy Ministers from nine EU member states and eight Energy Community Contracting Parties.

BRUA continues

BRUA gas pipeline project (Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria) will be completed in all four states involved, according to a memorandum of understanding signed in Bucharest on Thursday, stated the Romanian Energy Minister Toma Petcu, quoted by Agerpres.

“Under the memorandum signed today, all countries agreed and clearly established that there would be a reverse-flow interconnection, namely in both directions, in all four states. Including between Hungary and Austria, this reverse-flow interconnection has been established and Austria is committed to finalizing Phase I in due time, the same will do Hungary and Bulgaria, while for Phase II all four states assumed that they will run this project and bring it to the end under the established parameters,” the Romanian minister said.

The signing of the memorandum comes after Transgaz has been informed by the Hungarian counterpart, FGSZ, at the end of July, that it cannot implement the planned procedure because of the lack of the necessary approval from the company’s Supervisory Board, the reason being some economic efficiency issues.

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