Energy Council to discuss gas market package and electricity market design
The EU energy ministers will convene in Brussels on 28 March 2023 for the first official Energy Council under the Swedish Presidency. The aim is to reach a general approach on the gas market package and to hold a policy debate on the European Commission’s proposal to revise the EU electricity market design published on 14 March. Ann-Mari Kemell, State Secretary to Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä, will represent Finland at the meeting.
Negotiations on reforming the EU electricity market design have begun
The ministers will hold a policy debate on the Commission’s proposal to reform the electricity market design, which was published on 14 March 2023. In particular, the Commission proposes amendments to the Electricity Regulation, the Electricity Directive and the REMIT Regulation. The reform aims to make the EU energy market more stable and sustainable, protect consumers and businesses from price volatility and encourage investments in renewable energy sources. The debate aims to guide the ongoing work on the proposal in the Council.
The Commission’s proposal aims to respond to the concerns of end-users of electricity, industry and investors regarding price volatility. The key issues include proposals for improving consumer protection, promoting long contracts and industrial competitiveness, as well as proposals for support mechanisms for production and demand response.
Finland will participate on the debate based on its positions, which are detailed in the Europe communication E159/2022 vp. A Union communication will be prepared on the Commission’s proposal and the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs will agree on Finland’s policy.
In Finland’s view, a successful starting point for the Commission’s proposal is that the market design works well and provides the correct investment signals. However, the energy crisis has shown that improvements are needed, especially as concerns consumer protection and resilience. Finland supports the EU’s efforts to improve long-term price stability and to better respond to price crises at European level.
Gas market package will ease the use of renewable gases and improve consumer protection
The ministers will seek a general approach on the gas market package. It aims to make the introduction of renewable and low-carbon gases easier, create a market for hydrogen and increase consumer protection and consumers’ opportunities to exercise influence.
Another objective is to simplify the current regulatory framework by harmonising the regulation of the gas market and infrastructure with the Clean Energy package adopted in 2019, which regulates the electricity sector. The aim is to enable the phasing-out of fossil natural gas, which in turn would support the EU's target to be climate neutral by 2050.
Finland welcomes the development of an internal gas market and supports closer integration of the internal market. The internal market could be advanced through regional markets. This would promote the functioning of the wholesale gas market, competition between different gas sources and security of supply.
Negotiations have been conducted on a tight schedule under the leadership of Sweden. Finland welcomes the progress made concerning the proposal and it can accept the proposal as the Council’s general approach. The current proposal takes account of the special features of Finland’s small natural gas market better than the earlier version. For example, the proposal now includes an option of temporarily prohibiting imports of gas and LNG from Russia and Belarus.
Riku Huttunen, Director General, Minister of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 431 6518
Elina Hautakangas, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 116
Arto Rajala, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 064 828
Elina Johansson, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 301 4607
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment press release 16 March: Commission’s proposal to launch negotiations on the reform of electricity market design