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Implications of recent Bulgarian legislation on security of supply to the European energy market and on the spirit of solidarity between Member States

Question écrite de M. András GYÜRK - Commission européenne

Question de M. András GYÜRK,

Diffusée le 19 octobre 2023

Subject: Implications of recent Bulgarian legislation on security of supply to the European energy market and on the spirit of solidarity between Member States

The TurkStream pipeline plays an essential role in ensuring the security of natural gas supply to Hungary and Serbia. Secure deliveries through this pipeline therefore also contribute to the stability of the European energy market. It is therefore deeply concerning that on 13 October 2023, without any prior consultation with the countries concerned, Bulgaria unilaterally imposed a new tax on gas transit through the TurkStream pipeline. This decision negatively affects the European energy market and may constitute an outright violation of the principle of the spirit of solidarity between EU Member States.

In view of this, and given that Article 194 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union makes energy solidarity a core principle and a legal norm:

1. What measures does the Commission plan to take to protect the principle of energy solidarity, given the new Bulgarian gas transit tax?

2. Does the Commission support the imposition of new unilateral taxes/levies by Member States where these undermine the security of supply to other Member States and to the European energy market in general?

3. Does the Commission believe that the right of Member States to determine their energy mix should not be undermined by other stakeholders?

Submitted: 20.10.2023

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 4 décembre 2023

Answer given by Ms Simson on behalf of the European Commission

(5 December 2023)

The Commission took note of the recently enacted measure by Bulgaria concerning gas imports and is closely following the developments in the area. At this stage, the Bulgarian government has not formally notified to the Commission the said measure.

The principles of Member States sovereignty over their energy mix, tempered by the principle of energy solidarity, and the Single Market are key pillars of the Treaty.

To this end, the Commission is in close contact with Bulgaria and other affected countries to gather relevant facts and assess the possible effects of the measure, including on security of supply.

As guardian of the Treaties, the Commission will ensure full respect of EU law.

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