As set in its Energy Community Accession Protocol, Georgia has committed to implementing flagship EU legislation in the area of natural gas in less than two years from now. The so-called “EU Third Energy Package” will induce restructuring of the gas sector, opening it to competition, as well as introduce consumer benefits. Understanding that a smooth transition towards the new market framework requires effective and rigorous stakeholder engagement, the EU4Energy Governance* project implemented by the Energy Community Secretariat organized a two-day event focused on supporting natural gas market reforms in Georgia. The High-level Policy Talks brought together representatives of the government, natural gas market participants and civil society.
Opening the event, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Giorgi Chikovani, said: “Georgia remains firmly committed to align its regulatory and legal framework with the best practices of the European Union. We truly appreciate the support of the Energy Community Secretariat under the EU4ENERGY Governance project in helping us find ways to enhance our legal framework in the gas sector, whilst taking into account the specific nature of Georgia. I have to be clear – the reforms will bring benefits to businesses and households alike. They are an opportunity to modernize our gas sector, enhance security of energy supply and bring us closer to our European partners”.
Mr Janez Kopač, Director of the Energy Community Secretariat, said: “Gas consumers don’t have to fear that the new gas market reforms will leave them out in the cold. On the contrary, the package puts in place measures to protect vulnerable consumers, improve gas supply services and allow for gas supplier choice and simple supplier switching procedures. There is no doubt that challenges lie ahead. But taking into account the extremely positive cooperation with Georgian stakeholders thus far, I am convinced that, together, we will be able to deliver a stable, transparent regulatory framework that induces investment and puts energy consumers at its heart”.
H.E. Janos Herman, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, said: "Georgia is committed to adopting EU energy sector principles and regulations. It is clear for all of us that the road towards a more efficient and transparent natural gas market is not easy. Together with other development partners, the EU remains ready to support the Government in transforming this challenge into an opportunity for economic development and better services for citizens."
The two-day event organized under the EU4Energy Governance Project was dedicated to increasing stakeholder awareness of the new institutional framework and the primary and secondary legislation governing natural gas activities required to comply with the EU Third Energy Package. Top experts of the Energy Community Secretariat shared their knowledge and expertise in order to provide capacity building to Georgian authorities and natural gas undertakings and clarify the relevant aspects of EU energy policy and law.
* The EU4Energy Initiative covers all EU support to improve energy supply, security and connectivity, as well as to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewables in the Eastern Partner countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It does this by financing projects and programmes that help to reform energy markets and to reduce national energy dependence and consumption. Over the longer term, this makes energy supply more reliable, transparent and affordable, thus reducing energy poverty and energy bills for both citizens and the private sector.
Tbilisi, 12 April