The European Union is a key actor on the international energy
market as the largest importer and as the second largest consumer
in the world. Energy is a major economic and geopolitical factor.
The European Union is, however, dependent on imports for half
of its supplies, while this dependence could even reach 70%
by the year 2030, if nothing is done. For natural gas, dependence
could reach 70 %; for oil 90% and for coal even 100%. Most likely,
enlargement will only reinforce these trends, despite the fact
that certain (former) candidate countries are producers of primary
energy (e.g. Poland for coal and Romania for oil and gas).
This situation calls for various measures about which the
European Commission has launched in 2001 a wide debate (Green
Paper 'Towards a European strategy for the security of energy
supply). Measures in the energy sector should aim at a more
stable flow of energy, ultimately underpinning the Union's efforts
to ensure peace, stability, security and prosperity. In this,
the European Union's enlargement process has a key role to play.
The energy acquis represents the body of all energy related
EU law, regulations and policies. Implementing the acquis requires
not only adequate legislation but also well functioning institutions
(for example a regulatory body as required in the electricity
and gas directives, a nuclear safety authority etc).
In view of the energy acquis, candidate countries need notably
Candidate countries have made considerable progress over the
past years and the above-mentioned issues are applicable to
the candidate countries in varying degrees. More is however
necessary and this will evidently continue to require large
amounts of investment funding. Although the EU will continue
to assist with pre-accession aid, the bulk will have to be financed
by candidate countries themselves. Private investments have
an important role to play in this context and require a stable
As regards the issue of nuclear energy, the European Union
has repeatedly emphasised the importance of a high level of
nuclear safety in candidate countries. In June 2001, the Council
of the European Union took note of a Report
on Nuclear Safety in the Context of Enlargement. This Report
contains recommendations to all candidate countries to continue
their national safety improvement programmes, including the
safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, and regarding
the safety of their research reactors.
All candidate countries have responded to these recommendations.
During the first half of 2002, a special Peer Review on nuclear
safety assessed the progress made by candidate countries in
implementing all recommendations. This exercise under the auspices
of the Council resulted in a Status
Report, which was published in June 2002. It comes to the
general conclusion that all candidate countries are clearly
committed to fulfil the recommendations.
The EU has also insisted on the early closure of certain types
of nuclear power units.
Slovakia committed to close the two units of the Bohunice-V-1
Nuclear Power Plant by 2006 and 2008 respectively. At the Copenhagen
European Council it was decided to support Slovakia's efforts
by an amount of € 90 million in the period 2004-2006. The Union
acknowledged that the decommissioning process will have to continue
beyond 2006 and that this effort represents for Slovakia a significant
financial burden. Decisions on the continuation of EU assistance
in this field after 2006 will take this situation into account.
Lithuania committed to close Unit-1 of Ignalina Nuclear Power
Plant before 2005 and Unit-2 by 2009, while the EU took a commitment
to continue to provide adequate additional Community assistance
to the decommissioning effort also beyond 2006. The Union acknowledged
that the decommissioning effort is of unprecedented nature and
represents for Lithuania an exceptional financial burden not
commensurate with the size and economic strength of the country.
At the Copenhagen European Council it was decided to support
Lithuania's efforts with an amount of € 285 million in the period
Bulgaria, in line with its commitments, closed down for decommissioning
units 1 and 2 of Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant at the end of
2002. It also committed to close units 3 and 4 in 2006. Furthermore,
regarding the so-called "Peer Review" mechanism under
the auspices of the EU Council, in November 2003 EU dispatched
an expert mission to Bulgaria to verify in situ the status of
implementation of the recommendations contained in the above
Council reports . Furthermore, the EU expressed its readiness
to consider the matter of continued financial assistance in
this area. Within the framework of the accession negotiations,
it was decided to support Bulgaria’s efforts with an amount
of € 550 million in the period 2000-2009.
Generally, in the energy chapter, negotiations concentrate,
depending on the country concerned, on the constitution of emergency
oil stocks, the internal energy market (gas and electricity
directives) and nuclear safety.
For EU energy policy developments please refer to the Commission's
Energy and Transport's website.
State of play
The energy chapter has been closed with 10 countries in December
2002. It has also been closed with Bulgaria and Romania in December
Compliance with the acquis
The latest assessment of each candidate countrys compliance
with the acquis under this chapter heading, can be found in
the 2004 Regular Reports and in the Comprehensive Monitoring
Reports, available at:
Country by country