EC Opens Infringement Procedure against Bulgaria over Electricity Market

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EC Opens Infringement Procedure against Bulgaria over Electricity Market

The European Commission Thursday opened an infringement procedure against Bulgaria in connection with the quota system related to electricity production and to supplies limiting the access to cross-border transmission capacity, BTA reported.

At the beginning of this year, the Commission received complaints over the functioning of the electricity market in Bulgaria. After analysis of the information, the Commission found that Bulgaria does not implement Directive 2003/54/EC and Regulations No. 1228/2003.

On May 8, the Commission addressed a letter of formal notice to Bulgaria as the first written warning. The letter raises questions about electricity production and supplies limiting the access to cross-border transmission capacity, Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs's Spokesman Ferran Tarradellas said.

The Bulgarian authorities were requested to answer these questions by July 8. Depending on the information provided, the Commission may continue or terminate the infringement procedure. "We hope to receive an answer in due time. If this happens, Bulgaria has nothing to worry about, the infringement procedure will be abandoned," the Spokesman explains.

If the Commission decides to continue the procedure, it will address a "Reasoned Opinion" (second and final written warning) to Bulgaria which, too, has to be answered within two months. If the Commission finds the answer unsatisfactory, it may decide to bring the case before the European Court of Justice.

It was not clear why the new infringement procedure against Bulgaria was made public only now, once it was formally launched by the Commission back a month ago.

Bulgaria's Ministry of Economy and Energy is preparing a reasoned answer to the letter received from the European Commission, the Ministry said in a press release.

In the process of its preparation for accession to the EU, Bulgaria transposed in its national legislation the EU requirements in the energy sector, including Directive 2003/54/EC. An Act to Amend and Supplement the Energy Act was adopted in September 2006, mainly intended to regulate the transition period of phased liberalization of the electricity and natural gas markets and to create a legal framework for functioning of the national energy sector in conditions of a fully liberalized energy market after July 1, 2007, the press release said.

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