The Energy Community is aninternational organization dealing with energy policy. The organization was established by an international treaty in Oct 2005 in Athens, Greece. The Treaty entered into force in July 2006 bringing together the European Union, on one hand, and countries from the South East Europe and Black Sea region on the other.
The key aim of the Community is to extend the EU internal energy market to South East Europe countries and Black Sea region on the basis of a legally binding regulation.
Tasks of the Community are:
§ Attract investments in power generation and electric power networks, in order to ensure stable and continuous energy supply that is essential for economic development and social stability;
§ Create an integrated energy market, allowing conditions for cross-border energy trade and integration with the EU market;
§ Enhance the security of supply;
§ Enhance competition at regional level.
Currently, the Energy Community has 8 Contracting Parties: Albania, Bosna & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldavia, Serbia and Ukraine. Among founders of the Community were also Bulgaria and Romania which joined the EU in 2007, and Croatia which joined in 2013.
The European Union is a Contracting Party in the Energy Community Treaty. The Union is represented by the European Commission and appoints the vice chairman of the Community. EU member countries can obtain the status of Participant. Participants can attend to all meeting in the Energy Community. Currently, 19 EU member countries has the status of Participant.
Georgia, Armenia, Norway and Turkey has the status of Observer. Observers can attend to meetings of the Ministerial Council, Permanent High Level Group, Regulatory Board and FORA.
Negotiations with Georgia about valid membership in the Community, started in 2014, are in progress.
A strong institutional organization helps in achieving objectives of the Community. The Energy Community has the following bodies:
§ Ministerial Council – it is responsible for achieving objectives defined by the Treaty, and it assembles once a year;
§ Permanent High Level Group (PHLG) – prepares the work of the Ministerial Council, gives consent for technical assistance, reports to the Ministerial Council about progress in achieving objectives of the Treaty, and it assembles every 3 months;
§ Energy Community Regulatory Board (ECRB) – it gathers national regulators from the region; it advises the Ministerial Council or Permanent High Level Group about details of legal, technical and regulatory rules; it issues recommendations about cross-border disputes between two or more regulators, upon request of any of them;
§ FORA (Energy Community Forum) – advisory body composed of representatives of all interested parties, including industry, consumers and regulators.