Russia eyes legal opportunities to challenge EU’s Third Energy Package

Russia is considering an opportunity to legally challenge the rules envisaged by the Third Energy Package of the European Union, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Friday.

The existing cooperation agreement between Russia and Europe stipulates maintenance of the existing economic conditions of work of the Russian firms operating in the European Union, Shmatko said.

“We closed a cooperation agreement with Europe earlier, which stipulates that the conditions of work for our (Russian) companies will not worsen, while the Third Energy Package was adopted later,” Shmatko said. “We are currently seeking legal opportunities to use that agreement and in case we find such an opportunity, we will challenge (the rules),” he added.

Shmatko also said the Europeans positively responded to Russia’s suggestion that all trunk export pipelines are part of the Russian pipeline system; however, it declined to adopt it under a separate intergovernmental agreement.

“We have suggested that it should be put in a separate intergovernmental agreement, but it was not understood by the European Union. They have offered to include it into a new framework agreement between Russia and the EU, which means another 2-3 years of negotiations. We were disappointed with this position,” the minister said.

The Third Package for Electricity and Gas markets was adopted in 2009. It aims to separate production and supply from transmission networks, facilitate cross-border trade in energy, more effective national regulators, and promote cross-border collaboration and investment, greater market transparency on network operation and supply, as well as increased solidarity among EU countries.

It particularly affects the operation of vertically integrated companies such as Russian state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom.


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