European Parliament Committee adopts South East European Energy Treaty




The European Parliament Committee dealing with Energy gave its assent to the South East European Energy Treaty yesterday. This vote was unanimous. It also adopted a resolution and amendments, which raise our social concerns including the need for the memorandum of Understanding on Social aspects to become binding and for the social partners to commence playing a role in the social dialogue committees. EPSU has been working with Members of the Parliament and especially its vice-president Britta Thomsen on the resolution. "The adoption of the resolution and the cross-party support signal that the Commission should not promote one-sided policies and be serious about promoting Social Europe", stated Jan Willem Goudriaan, EPSU Deputy General Secretary.





Energy



ITRE Members support South East European Energy treaty but have certain concerns



19/04/06 The ITRE Committee recommends the Parliament to give its assent to the conclusion of the Energy Community Treaty (ECT) between nine South East European states and territories (recommendation adopted today with 36:4 votes). This Treaty shall establish an Integrated Energy Market Organisation in South East Europe which means that the relevant aquis communautaire on energy, environment and competition will be implemented there.



In an accompanying motion for a resolution, adopted today unanimously, members of the ITRE committee nevertheless raise different concerns. They expect to discuss the matter further with the Commission before the vote in plenary which is at the moment scheduled for the May I session.



Members are concerned by changes made by Council which transform the obligatory consultation with the EP (as proposed in the Commission proposal) into an "information exercise" (Paragraph 5). They demand to be informed on decisions of the Commission and Ministerial Council and be able to amend proposals (Paragraph 6). A procedure to this end needs to be discussed.



Parliamentarians want Parliament to be informed and consulted prior to any future extension of the ECT to other energy sources or sectors (Amendment 11). The Commission should also report in writing at least once per year to Parliament on the achievements and problems faced by the contracting parties in the implementation of the ECT (Amendment 12, 13).



Members seek clarification by Council and Commission concerning issues like:

- effective implementation by ECT participants of the aquis regarding energy efficiency, air, liquid and solid pollutant emissions and climate changes as matters of utmost importance to avoid distortion of competition with EU players (Amendment 6);
- role and function of the various institutions created by the ECT, (Amendment 9), - measures taken by donors, Member States and the ECT countries to ensure market transparency (Amendment 10),



Background:



The Energy Community Treaty (ECT) has been signed in Athens on 29.10.2005 by the nine partners of South East Europe (Republic of Albania, the Republic of Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Montenegro, Romania, the Republic of Serbia and the United Nations Interim administration Mission in Kosovo). The European Parliament has to give its assent before Council can conclude the treaty.



It was the first time in history that all of these states and territories have signed a legally binding treaty. The ECT is modelled on the European Steel and Coal Community that was the genesis for the European Union. the ECT will create the legal framework for an integrated energy market (electricity and gas) and aims, in due course, to create an internal market between the EC and the nine countries of the region.



The ECT, as proposed by the Commission, provides for a mutual assistance of about 32 785 000 Euro for a period of seven years (2007 to 2013). About 95% of the total cost will be covered by the EC Budget and the remaining 5% will be shared by the nine contracting parties (see Annex IV of ECT).



The draft recommendation, the draft motion for resolution, the amendments as well as the Councils decision can be found via (points 13, 14):
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/organes/itre/itre_20060418_1500.htm




The final version of the motion for resolution will be made available via: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/expert/motion.do?language=EN




The vote on the recommendation and the motion for resolution in plenary are scheduled for the May I session in Strasbourg. They will be accompanied by an oral question to Commission and Council which can be found here:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?PUBREF=-//EP//TEXT+OQ+O-2006-0025+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&L=EN&LEVEL=0&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y
and here:



http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?PUBREF=-//EP//TEXT+OQ+O-2006-0024+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&L=EN&LEVEL=0&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y


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