Parliament approves new rules on intergovernmental agreements in the energy field

MEPs met in a plenary session today in Brussels in order to approve the deal reached with the Council during trilogues on intergovernmental agreements in the energy field.

These new rules oblige Member States to submit draft agreements to the Commission before agreeing on binding agreements on gas and oil with a third country : an ex-ante verification would replace the current ex-post system, what is a major improvement. These new rules will also enable the Commission to participate in the negotiations with a third state either by the request of the Member State concerned, or by its own request, if the Member States agrees on it. Concerning electricity deals however, these will be scrutinised ex-ante only when the Member States will voluntarily submit them to the Commission, leaving hereby much larger margins of manoeuvre to national governments.

New rules are beneficial as they can strengthen the Commission’s power to prevent a Member State from signing an energy deal (international agreement) with a third country when it is not compliant with the EU law. In that way, it potentially enhances the construction and the functioning of the energy internal market. Despite these progress, the agreement is however not going far enough to allow the EU to « speak with one voice » when it comes to energy diplomacy. New rules still leave much space to Russia and its gas monopoly Gazprom to impose abusive and discriminatory clauses in gas deals negotiated with the most dependent Member States.

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