“A legally-binding solidarity mechanism and a harmonised EU-wide list of protected customers mean that gas supplies will no longer be used as a political weapon or an instrument of blackmail”, commented Jerzy Buzek MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and Rapporteur on the Regulation on measures to safeguard the security of gas supply, adopted today in plenary.
The Report is a crucial piece of legislation establishing the Energy Union. It introduces a solidarity clause which will be activated automatically whenever one of the EU countries is affected by a very serious crisis of gas supply. In these cases, the country’s neighbours will have an obligation to supply gas to that country’s most sensitive consumers - the so-called protected customers.
The Report also provides for enhanced regional cooperation. Risk assessments, prevention plans and emergency plans in case of disruptions in gas supplies are to be prepared, not by individual Member States, but jointly by national authorities in seven EU regions specially formed for this purpose.
“The previous legislation did not foresee regional cooperation. And this is essential, given that as much as 90% of the gas that flows through the European Union crosses at least one border. Our citizens may not understand geopolitics, but they understand if their heating is turned off. A single country can disrupt supplies but a single country certainly cannot overcome such disruptions or prevent them alone. This is why we needed an effective solution at EU-level and we have delivered. We are ensuring that our citizens are never left without gas flowing to their homes and stoves", said Jerzy Buzek.
Finally, the Report obliges energy firms to notify all gas contracts crucial for European energy security. "Increasing the transparency of contracts was my key objective and I am glad to have been able to guarantee this. This is important because today, about 65% of the European Union's gas is imported from outside. We have lowered the thresholds of national annual consumption of gas from which it will be necessary to show contracts from the proposed 40% to 28%. This will also apply to contracts already in place. We also gave the European Commission the right to inspect, in the case of justified suspicion, every contract for gas supplies, including those for energy infrastructure. At the same time, the new provisions grant the necessary confidentiality of commercial contracts in line with EU competition law”, concluded Jerzy Buzek.