MEPs back tighter rules on security of gas supply
MEPs today approved a law on the security of gas supply that requires European gas companies to have enough gas to maintain supplies in the event of future supply crises. The legislation also obliges governments to co-ordinate policies in the event of a crisis and gives the European Commission an oversight role.
The approval of the legislation by MEPs, who voted 601 votes in favour, 27 against and 28 abstentions, means that the law could enter the EU’s rulebook before the end of the year.
The legislation requires gas companies to have enough gas for domestic customers for at least seven days of exceptionally cold weather and 30 days of average winter demand. In the event of “infrastructure disruption”, caused by an accident or gas taps deliberately being turned off, companies must guarantee domestic supply for at least 30 days.
National governments have four years to meet the new standards, although new cross-border interconnections, to help ease energy blockages, will have to be in place after three years.
The law was drafted in 2009 after a row between Russia and Ukraine left hundreds of thousands of EU citizens without heating during the depths of winter at the start of that year.
In the event of a repeat gas crisis, the new law allows the European Commission to declare “a Union emergency” as long as at least two member states request it. The Commission would then be in charge of co-ordinating the EU’s dealings with non-EU supplier and transit countries.