• Natural Gas News

    Belgium Merits Referral to EU Court


Its long-term failures to implement the gas and power directives properly --- right under the nose of the EC -- can no longer escape legal scrutiny.

by: William Powell

Posted in:

Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Premium, Corporate, Political, Regulation, News By Country, Belgium

Belgium Merits Referral to EU Court

The European Commission (EC) has decided to refer Belgium to the Court of Justice of the EU for failure to ensure the correct implementation of EU electricity and gas market rules, it said July 25. Both directives are part of the third energy package and contain key provisions for the proper functioning of energy markets.

Belgium did not correctly transpose certain rules on the powers of the national regulator. In particular, the Belgian regulator has not been given the powers to take decisions that are binding on electricity and gas undertakings, and can only make proposals to the government to take such decisions.

Likewise, the conditions for connection to the electricity and gas networks are set by the government rather than by the regulator, as required by EU law. Finally, Belgian law does not ensure that transmission system operators actually control the whole of the electricity or gas network for which they are responsible, so they may not be in a position to fully ensure non-discriminatory access of electricity or gas suppliers to the grid.

The EC decided to open EU infringement proceedings against Belgium in October 2014 by sending a letter of formal notice, followed by a reasoned opinion in February 2016. Since Belgium has not addressed all the issues raised, the EC decided to refer the case to the court.