Friday, December 8, 2023

European Commission says independent authorities must regulate utilities sector

Mario Bottaro European Union

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While the EU is negotiating with a number of countries about certain association agreements, New Europe discussed with the European Commission whether it envisions creating an independent authority to regulate the utilities sectors in countries where private economic operators already function to guarantee their rights.

A European Commission spokesperson answered “The Commission is currently negotiating on an association agreement between the EU and its Member States and Andorra, Monaco and San Marino on the small-sized countries’ participation in the internal market and related horizontal and flanking policies as well as possibly cooperation in other areas. This responds to the EU’s objective of developing a special relationship with neighbouring countries. The implementation of an independent authority to regulate utilities sectors is among the topics discussed presently.  The future Agreement must provide for maintaining the good functioning, the integrity and the homogeneity of the internal market as well as legal certainty while simultaneously taking into account the specificities of each of the three partner countries and their particular situations. The participation of the three countries in the EU internal market set out in the future Agreement should be based, inter alia, on mutual and shared values, the indivisibility of the four freedoms of the internal market and related horizontal and flanking policies, and the establishment of a level playing field. This entails that access to sectors of the EU’s internal market must ensure the take-over, implementation and enforcement of the EU acquis in the three countries. The Commission, together with the national competent authorities, directly enforces EU competition rules, including in relation to sectoral monopolies, making sure that all companies compete equally and fairly on the Internal Market. This benefits citizens, businesses and the Internal Market as a whole. This requires the development of supervisory components despite the small size of our partners’ markets”

On June 30th then EU Commission Vice-President Sefcovic made some remarks on the roadmap paving the way towards an Association Agreement with Andorra, Monaco and San Marino, he said :“This future Association Agreement could be amongst the most far-reaching offered by the EU to outside partners. The roadmap reflects the political ambition of the Commission, shared with the Council, to conclude negotiations on the future association agreement by the end of 2023. To achieve this objective, the roadmap contains an ambitious programme, including some country-specific considerations, and a timeline for the next 18 months. Our clear overarching objective is to further strengthen our relationship, including through integration into the EU’s Single Market with its four freedoms.

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