The European Parliament and the Council of the EU have adopted new rules for increasing the transparency and compliance with EU law of intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) in the field of energy that EU countries sign with non-EU countries. These rules closely follow a proposal made by the European Commission in February 2016.
Rules about energy-related IGAs were first established in 2012. Since then, EU countries have been required to submit these IGAs concluded with non-EU countries to the Commission after signing them. The Commission then checks whether they are compliant with EU law. However, in the current system, if an IGA is found by the Commission to be not compliant with EU law, it may not be possible to renegotiate the IGA, for both legal and political reasons.
To avoid this, the Parliament and the Council have now decided that IGAs with non-EU countries in the gas and oil sectors must be submitted to the Commission before they are signed, so that they can be checked for compliance with EU law. IGAs concerning electricity will also have to be submitted to the Commission, but only after signing, as is the case now.
The new rules are in accordance with the EU's Energy Union strategy. It aims to deliver a more integrated and better functioning internal energy market that can ensure security of supply and a successful transition to clean energy while promoting investment, growth and jobs.