The European Commission will sue Romania at the European Court of Justice if the Bucharest Parliament adopts the amendments to the Emergency Ordinance 64/2016 on natural gas, European Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said on a meeting in Brussels with representatives of the Romanian energy sector.
The Commissioner was asked about the amendments made in the Parliament to the Emergency Ordinance 64/2016, according to which 70% of the gas produced in Romania will have to be traded on a single exchange, namely OPCOM, in the context in which the European Commission has already launched a lawsuit against Romania to block gas exports.
“We have a legislative energy package and one of the issues concerns the liberalization of the market. It is a complex process with different stages of transition. In this process, the European Commission encourages dialogue instead of going to the Court of Justice, where procedures are long and we will waste time, “the European official said.
He pointed out that the approval of GEO 64 in Parliament would have meant compliance with European law and closure of the infringement procedure.
“It is clear that Romania is at a crossroads in the energy sector, especially with regard to the gas market. It is clear that with regard to GEO 64 we had some expectation that this ordinance will be approved in Romania and we will not go further with the infringement. The fact that the ordinance is now blocked in Parliament shows that it is not going in the right direction”, Canete said.
According to him, the European Commission has proposed some solutions to overcome this blockage and encouraged everyone to have a balanced attitude.
“These amendments are problematic for the Commission. The European Commission has launched a dialogue, we want to find solutions, but if those provisions are maintained, we will have to act accordingly. My message is clear: these amendments cannot be approved. There are alternatives, but certain principles must be met for more competition so that consumers have better choice and best prices”, the commissioner added.
He repeated that he would ask for dialogue.
“When the regulated prices are dropped, it will be chaos. We expect the dialogue to continue, but if we do not go in the right direction, we will continue the infringement and we will go to the Court of Justice, if necessary. But I would ask the dialogue, to come to a common denominator to reconcile everyone”, the European Commissioner said.
At the same time, Canete has shown that the existence of a single gas trading platform can affect competition in the market.
“If you focus your sales on a single platform, you can avoid competition on the market. Romania has a good competition, but at the Parliament level there has been a regression in the discussion. I think there are still things to be done. Please do something to avoid the infringement, because it damages the image and affects the investments, which will be delayed, and the country stay behind”, Canete said, according to economica.net.
On October 4, 2017, the Industry and Services Committee of the Chamber of Deputies endorsed a law for approval of GEO 64/2016, with one of the amendments voted forcing 70% of gas produced in Romania to be traded on a single exchange, respectively OPCOM.