EU Energy Ministers agree on energy unbundling compromise

Strongly backed by France, which is president of the European Union through 2008, the unbundling compromise reached June 6 (OGJ, June 16, 2008, Newsletter) was adopted unanimously Oct. 10 at the Energy Ministers meeting in Luxembourg.

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Oct. 12 -- Strongly backed by France, which is president of the European Union through 2008, the unbundling compromise reached June 6 (OGJ, June 16, 2008, Newsletter) was adopted unanimously Oct. 10 at the Energy Ministers meeting in Luxembourg. Controversial legislation otherwise could have separated the network operation of electricity and gas from production and supply activities.

Described as "a major political agreement," the compromise confirms that ownership of both transportation and marketing networks will be retained by the producers, but the units will be operated independently from the parent company and supervised by an Independent Transmission Operator.

A European regulatory agency will be set up, which will "considerably bolster the coordination of the national regulators," according to the ministers' press release.

The European Parliament definitely will adopt these texts in a second reading. In its first reading, the Parliament had opted for full unbundling.

The ministers also reaffirmed the crucial importance of energy efficiency both to achieve climate objectives and to guarantee energy security.

The ministers also discussed the energy-climate package and especially the renewables directive under which these energies should account for 20% of the energy mix by 2020. It is one of the leading priorities of the French presidency, and an agreement at its first reading is targeted by yearend.

Energy security, which also came up for discussion, will be dealt with further at the Heads of State meeting Oct. 15-16.


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