The European Parliament has announced a new rule facilitating cross-border cooperation between EU states in the event of an urgent gas shortage.
Sufficient gas supply for households, district heating and essential social services such as hospitals would take priority in the event of such an occurrence. A member state can activate the solidarity mechanism and call on other member states to help tackle a severe crisis.
This new regulation is a central part of the sustainable energy security package presented by the Commission in February 2016. Together with the revised legislation on Intergovernmental Agreements ( adopted in March 2017) the package increases overall transparency on the gas market and strengthens the EU's resilience to gas supply disruptions.
The new rules establish four “risk groups” of member states, which will take part in “risk associated cooperation” and undertake joint risk assessments and joint preventive and emergency measures.
There will be three energy supply crisis levels - early warning, alert, and emergency - which member states can declare by informing the European Commission and the competent authorities in their risk groups and in adjacent member states.
Jerzey Buzek MEP, said: “Our citizens must never be left without gas flowing to their homes. The new Regulation will strengthen regional cooperation in emergency planning and crisis prevention, and make gas contracts more transparent.”
The regulation was approved by 567 votes to 101 against, with 23 abstentions. Once endorsed by Council, the revised Security of Gas Supply Regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and enters into force 20 days after publication.