The European Commission has welcomed yesterday's decision of the Ministerial Council of the Energy Community to give Moldova almost four extra years to unbundle its gas pipeline network. A press release said the Council had extended Moldova’s deadline for the implementation of ownership unbundling rules in the gas sector until 1 January 2020.

The EU’s Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said the Council’s decision had responded to a request by the Moldovan government to take into account the situation in Moldova’s energy sector, which is 100% dependent on a single gas supplier.“Securing the uninterrupted supply with gas for the Moldovan citizens and businesses is the priority and Moldova can count on the solidarity of the European Union and Energy Community partners on this,” he added.
The Commisioner called on the EU and Moldovan energy experts to look together for solutions “so that Moldovan citizens can soon enjoy the same benefits of internal energy market as do the citizens of the EU."
By an earlier decision of the Ministerial Council, all members of the Energy Community committed themselves to implement the EU gas and electricity rules by 1st January 2015 and to unbundle their gas transmission systems and gas transmission operators by 1st June 2016. For Moldova, this deadline will now be pushed back by 4 years until January 2020.
The specific situation of Moldova's energy market has been taken into account, the press release said, citing the fact that Moldova has no domestic production of gas, is 100% dependent on gas imports from a single supplier and that gas accounts for 90% of domestic power generation. In addition, key parts of the gas import and transport infrastructure are located in Transnistria, a territory over which there is an unsolved sovereignty conflict.
In the coming weeks the Commission will set up an EU-Moldova joint expert group to support in restructuring its gas sector and in increasing security of supply.
The Energy Community entered into force in 2006, and aims to extend the EU internal energy market to South East Europe and beyond, and enhance the overall security of supply. Parties have committed themselves to liberalise their energy markets and implement key EU legal acts in the area of electricity, gas, environment and renewable energy. Among the Eastern Partners, Moldova (since May 2010) and Ukraine (as of February 2011) are both full members of the Energy Community. Armenia and Georgia have observer status.
(EU Neighbourhood Info Centre)
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