On March 7, the European Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to Romania for failing to correctly implement certain requirements of the Gas Directive (Directive 2009/73/EC) and the Security of Gas Supply Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2017/1938). These instruments aim at ensuring the competitiveness in the EU gas markets while guaranteeing the secure supply to households and other customers requiring special protection. “After analysing legislative measures adopted by Romania in December 2018, the Commission found that the system of regulated wholesale prices newly introduced in the Romanian gas market goes against the EU legal requirements. The Commission also considers that these measures are not adequate to sustainably achieve the objective of protecting household customers from excessive price increases,” the document reads.
The officials of the European Commission have started the infringement procedure against Romania in the gas sector, as GEO 114/2018 breaches the basic treaty of the European Union and internal market principles.
Within RIGC – Romanian International Gas Conference, former Finance Minister Anca Dragu, currently Deputy General Manager at E.ON Romania, said that this was expected to happen.
“It was expected (to trigger the infringement procedure – Ed.), as GEO 114/2018 violates the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and the basic internal market principles. The first stage was triggered, the first step was made. Price capping and the allocation of quantities are worrying and the Commission also believes that the Emergency Ordinance fails to protect vulnerable consumers, as it is motivated in the explanatory statement,” Anca Dragu said.
According to her, in the following period the Government must clarify these suspicions raised by the Commission.
“We are at the authorities’ disposal for clarifications in this regard,” Anca Dragu added.
This is the first step of the infringement procedure. The warned states have two months to respond to the Commission. Otherwise, or if the answer is not satisfactory, the Commission moves to the second stage, the reasoned opinion. The third stage of the infringement procedure is Romania’s referral to the European Court of Justice.
According to EC, the two directives aim at ensuring competitiveness on EU gas markets, while guaranteeing supply in conditions of security to households and other customers requiring special protection.