When individual EU countries negotiate energy agreements with non-EU countries, they must ensure that these agreements comply with EU law. This helps ensure the smooth functioning of the EU's internal energy market.
Information exchange mechanism for agreements between governments
To help facilitate coordination between EU countries vis-à-vis non-EU countries and to ensure EU law is respected, the EU has created an information exchange mechanism. Specifically, the mechanism:
- requires EU countries to submit all existing international energy agreements to the European Commission for assessment
- allows EU countries to submit information on ongoing negotiations with non-EU countries to the Commission and to seek the Commission's advice on the compatibility of potential agreements with EU law
- requires EU countries to submit all intergovernmental agreements to the Commission upon their ratification
- requires EU countries to make the documents of intergovernmental agreements available to each other, either in full or as a summary. A summary should contain the subject matter, the aim and scope, the duration, the contracting parties, and information on the main elements of an agreement.
In February 2016, the Commission proposed an update to these rules.