Today’s 16th Ministerial Council took key decisions for the future of the Energy Community under the chairmanship of H.E. Kreshnik Bekteshi, Minister of Economy of former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Opening host speeches by Prime Minister H.E. Zoran Zaev and Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Koco Angjushev underlined that energy has no boundaries and regional cooperation is of greatest importance. As a boost for regional energy market integration, the Council adopted twenty-one infrastructure projects of regional significance, which will also enhance security of energy supply, increase energy efficiency and the uptake of energy from renewable sources. The ministers also agreed to re-open negotiations on amendments to the Treaty establishing the Energy Community which, once adopted, will help enhance market integration between Energy Contracting Parties and EU Member States.
The meeting brought together ministers of energy as well as environment, reflecting the Energy Community’s strong focus on assisting the Contracting Parties in the clean energy transition. The Council adopted General Policy Guidelines on 2030 energy and climate targets, which recognize the need to establish targets on energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and greenhouse gas emission reduction. The targets should be in line with the EU targets for 2030, represent an equal ambition for the Contracting Parties and take into account relevant socio-economic differences, technological developments and commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. At the same time, the Council agreed to incorporate in 2019 the revised Energy Efficiency Directive and Renewable Energy Directive and new Governance Regulation with 2030 targets for Contracting Parties in the Energy Community.
The Ministerial Council also took a decision to expand the Energy Community acquis by adopting new Energy Labelling Regulation 2017/1369 and Regulation No 1227/2011 on wholesale energy market integrity and transparency (REMIT). In addition, two Network Codes in the gas sector were adopted by the Energy Community Permanent High Level Group on the eve of the Council.
The eight Projects of Energy Community Interest and thirteen Projects of Mutual Interest adopted under Regulation 347/2013 on Guidelines for Trans-European Energy Infrastructure will benefit from investment incentives and enhanced regulatory conditions. In the gas sector, the list includes the Ionian Adriatic Pipeline, which has the potential to bring gas from the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Albania and further on to Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and in reverse flow operation has the potential to bring gas from Austria or Italy or from the planned Croatian LNG terminal in Krk. For electricity, the trans-Balkan corridor will connect Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Romania and the rest of the Western Balkans with the Italian power system over an undersea cable.
The Ministers took decisions on a number of dispute settlement cases establishing a serious and persistent breach under Article 92 of the Treaty. These include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Ukraine for failure to comply with the Sulphur in Fuels Directive and Bosnia and Herzegovina for not transposing the Third Energy Package. As regards Serbia’s lack of compliance related to revenues from the allocation of cross-border capacity on certain interconnectors, the breach will only be considered serious and persistent if it is not solved within the next six months. With respect to a long-standing case against Bosnia and Herzegovina for failing to adopt compliant gas legislation, the Ministerial Council decided to grant the country another six months before new measures take effect.
The Council also prolonged the mandate of Mr Janez Kopač as Director of the Energy Community Secretariat for the next three years beginning on 1 December 2018.