The proposal, adopted by Parliament in an urgent procedure, will now be the subject of negotiations with EU ministers. MEPs want to set a mandatory minimum level of gas storage in reserves of 80% by November 1, 2022, to reach 90% in subsequent years. The objective pursued is to ensure security of supply and protect Europeans from possible disruptions.
All storage operators must also obtain a new mandatory certification to avoid any risk of foreign interference. In the event of default, the latter must relinquish their title deeds or control over their gas storage facilities. Furthermore, they cannot close these infrastructures without prior approval from the national regulator.
In order to speed up the replenishment of gas reserves, the new law is also intended to encourage energy companies by giving them a discount on transport tariffs to (or from) storage facilities.
Jerzy Buzek (EPP, PL), MEP leading the EP’s negotiating team, said: “This important legislative proposal does not just deal with much-needed new legislation. It focuses primarily on securing our gas supply for next winter. This is what our citizens – families, SMEs or industry – expect from the EU today. We must live up to these expectations and are ready to start negotiations immediately. I believe the Council shares this approach.”
Parliament supported the proposal with 516 votes in favour, 25 against and 15 abstentions. MEPs have referred the matter back to committee for negotiation, which will begin once EU ministers have agreed their position.
The legislative proposal was adopted by the Commission on March 23 in the context of the Russian war in Ukraine. The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy submitted the request for urgent procedure under Rule 163 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure. On Tuesday, MPs voted to start the process.
At the Versailles Summit in March, EU leaders called for action to resolve the issue of energy independence. The European Commission’s proposal, welcomed by the European Council during the summit organized on March 24th and 25th, aims to reduce the risks related to the security of gas supply.