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Cyprus warned to open up energy market.

CYPRUS has been warned to open its energy market or face legal action at the European Court of Justice by the European Commission.

"Opening energy markets for competition is key to competitiveness of the EU economy as a whole," the Commission said in a press release on Monday. Seven other EU members have received the same warning.

An efficient, interconnected and transparent internal European energy market will also offer consumers a choice between different companies supplying gas and electricity and will make the market accessible to all suppliers, it said.

The eight countries have failed to put in place two EU directives on electricity and gas of the third energy package as they ought to have done a year ago.

Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Romania and Slovakia have not informed the Commission of any transposition measures for the two directives and Estonia has not done so as regards the Gas Directive.

On Monday, the Commission sent the violators its reasoned opinion -- the second stage in a pre litigation infringement procedure -- requesting their compliance within two months.

"If they fail to comply the Commission may refer them to the Court of Justice of the European Union," the press release said.

In February 2011, EU Heads of States and Governments declared the need to complete the internal energy market by 2014 and to achieve this, timely and complete transposition of EU legislation on the single market of gas and electricity into national law is crucial.

The third energy package includes key provisions for a proper functioning of the energy markets, including new rules on unbundling of networks, rules strengthening the independence and the powers of national regulators and rules on the improvement of the functioning of retail markets to the benefit of consumers.

Cyprus' energy regulator CERA said the bills would be ready soon.

CERA chairman Giorgos Shammas said the bill regarding electricity is at the final stage while the natural gas issue was delayed due to the discovery of deposits in the island's exclusive economic zone.

"I think that if all authorities work in harmony, we can prove to the EU that we are moving towards the right direction; for us, the basic rule is for CERA to have the necessary power to exercise its role," Shammas said.

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2012

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EXCY
Date:Feb 29, 2012
Words:390
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