In Brief

Some Emerging European States Need to Do More to Liberalise Energy Markets

energy markets

Bulgaria, as well as non-EU member states including Albania, Bosnia and Ukraine still do not meet the requirements of the Third Energy Package for the liberalisation of the electricity and gas market.

According to the European Commission, Bulgaria misapplied several of the requirements of the directive regarding the separation of networks from generation and supply activities and the separation of transmission system operators.

“The Commission expects all member states to fully comply with the EU acquis, and, if necessary, we stand ready to offer technical assistance to our member states in order to ensure that they will meet those requirements,” Anna-Kaisa Itkonen, European Commission spokesperson for climate action and energy tells Emerging Europe.

An effective unbundling will diversify the energy market. As things stand now they favour domestic energy production. Competitors are often prevented from entering markets, as those companies already present are involved both in the transmission of energy and in its production or supply.

This is not merely related to EU countries, as the integration of the Balkans into a single European energy system is one of the priorities of the EU. Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo have all been part of the so-called Energy Community since 2006, with the main goal of creating an integrated European-Trans Balkan energy market. This requires that each market complies with European regulations on the liberalisation of the market.

“As regards Energy Community countries, the commission represents the European Union in the secretariat and participates in the monitoring and assessing of the progress of the transposition of Third Energy Package legislation in the countries party to the community,” Ms Itkonen says. “It is important that we coordinate our policies and share the same rules for the energy market, including on environmental and climate objectives.”

In the case of Albania, Bosnia and Ukraine, the Energy Community has started a dispute settlement against these three countries as they have failed to transpose the unbundling requirements of the Third Energy Package into national legislation and have not taken measures to implement legal and functional unbundling of their national electricity distribution system. As a result, these countries continue to keep their energy markets closed, as opposed to opening themselves up to increased integration with the European Union, harming competition and potential investment.