Gas Directive: Overly Burdensome Regulation of the EU Gas Market?
On 15 April, the Council of the European Union (EU) backed a controversial revision of the EU Gas Directive, which was already adopted at a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels on 4 April. This adoption by the Council is the last step in the legislative initiative. However, the story began in November 2017, when the European Commission (EC) took “steps to extend common EU gas rules to import pipelines,” proposing an amendment of the current Gas Directive to ensure “that the core principles of EU energy legislation (third-party access, tariff regulation, ownership unbundling and transparency) will apply to all gas pipelines to and from third countries up to the border of the EU’s jurisdiction.”
The official explanation for the amendment was that it would improve the “functioning of the EU internal energy market and [enhance] solidarity between Member States.” Unofficially, another explanation is that the European Commission—which initiated the changes later supported by the European Parliament—sought to elbow its way into the political game over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.
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