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EU energy ministers back proposals for data sharing of energy deals

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EU energy ministers said that European energy companies would have much to gain from increased sharing of information on energy deals between EU members and third countries, in conclusions adopted late Thursday after an energy council meeting in Brussels.

“Ministers agreed that an exchange of information on energy deals is necessary and it will benefit the EU and companies in their relations with suppliers,” Polish deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak said at a press conference on behalf of the EU’s Polish presidency.

“It would allow us to get to know the clauses used by key suppliers in their relations with European companies. This is very important element and could have a beneficial effect for the negotiating position of EU companies and member states,” he added.

EU energy ministers were discussing proposals put forward by the European Commission in September to set up an information exchange mechanism for intergovernmental energy agreements between EU and non-EU countries.

Under the proposal, EU countries would have to share among each other information about their energy agreements with non-EU countries, including those still under negotiation. The EC may then provide an opinion on whether the agreement conforms with EU law and the EU’s security of supply aims.

In its conclusions, the energy council welcomed the EC’s proposals but warned that the EC should develop a way to the protect sensitive data.

It was suggested that “an electronic tool” should be developed to store and make available data and information on actions, programs and projects undertaken by the EU, or by EU countries in cooperation with third countries.

The energy council said the EU should work to promote relations with North Africa, Middle East, Caspian, Eastern Partnership and Black Sea countries, and Mediterranean countries.

It also recommended developing a new agreement with Russia “with full consistency with the internal energy market legislation” including access to energy resources and infrastructure, investment protection, supply crisis prevention and management, security and reliability of energy systems, level playing field, reciprocity and non-discriminatory pricing of energy resources.

The energy council conclusions also suggested improving energy security through “a draft EU-Russia Roadmap for Energy which will identify potentials concerning long-term cooperation.”

EU energy ministers also said that work needed to be done to extend the Energy Community Treaty beyond the year 2016.

Energy Community members Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and more recently Moldova and Ukraine have committed to follow EU rules on energy issues by signing the Energy Community treaty.

The aim is to integrate these markets with the EU’s to improve competitiveness and security of supply for all participants.

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