On Thursday 17 June, the European Parliament ITRE Committee adopted the report of Ms. Eluned Morgan (PES, UK) concerning "common rules for the internal market in electricity" In line with the European Parliament position, the EESC supports the principle of the effective unbundling of transmission system operators, electricity supply and production activities. In its recent opinion on the "Third legislative package on the electricity and gas markets", the EESC refuses the alternative option known as "Independent 'System Operator" that enables vertically integrated companies to retain the ownership of their network assets. EESC Member Carmelo Cedrone (Group II-Employees, Italy), believes that the behaviour of some Member States that oppose ownership unbundling conflicts with the spirit of the original Commission proposal, which aimed to create a viable internal energy market.

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The European Commission proposal provides for ownership unbundling of production and distribution networks or, failing that, separation of production and network (independent system operator) operation. It also provides for a European Agency to be set up to coordinate the work of national regulators. The measure has political, economic and social aspects, focusing particularly on workers, consumers and user businesses. It should lead to greater transparency, more investment, more competition, greater efficiency, lower prices and more mutual support among Member States.

"While the EESC opinion welcomes the Commission's initiative, it considers it to be insufficient as it stands to achieve the goals set," said Mr. Cedrone. "In particular, the EESC believes that faster progress should be made towards implementing the single market in energy, even if some Member States are not in favour of this." The Committee's opinion also calls on Member States to take appropriate measures to address "energy poverty", e.g. by supporting energy production at the lowest possible prices. Concerning the European Agency for the cooperation of Energy Regulators, the EESC believes that the Agency should have more power to act and national regulators should be more independent of governments. The EESC opinion also recommends more effective coordination between national network operators. More investment should be encouraged in the creation of "European" networks. Finally, the European Agency's board should include representatives of businesses, consumers and workers.
For further information, please consult the full text of the opinion at:

For more details, please contact:
Karel Govaert at the EESC Press Office,
99 rue Belliard, B-1040 Brussels
Tel.: +32 2 546 9396/9586; Mobile: +32 475 75 32 02
Email: press@eesc.europa.eu
Website: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/
Press Releases:
http://www.eesc.europa.eu/activities/press/cp/index_en.asp (English)
http://www.eesc.europa.eu/activities/press/cp/index_fr.asp (French)

The European Economic and Social Committee represents the various economic and social components of organised civil society. It is an institutional consultative body established by the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Its consultative role enables its members, and hence the organisations they represent, to participate in the Community decision-making process. The Committee has 344 members, who are appointed by the Council of Ministers.

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