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EC refers Poland to CJEU over cross-border gas trade rules

The European Commission (EC) has decided to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for imposing restrictive requirements on companies engaged in the cross-border trade of natural gas, the EC said in a statement on Thursday.

“The Polish Stocks Act requires importers and traders of natural gas stored outside Poland to ensure that they can deliver the total mandatory stocks of natural gas to the national transmission or distribution network at all times and to book firm transmission capacity into Poland, just in case they may be needed,” the EC wrote in the statement.

But Poland’s law does not allow the trade of booked capacity on the secondary market even though the capacity is not used and “excludes the application of the principle ‘use it or lose it.'”

At the same time, gas suppliers using storage facilities in Poland are not subject to the same requirements, the EC added. 

According to the EC, the requirements imposed on importers and traders storing natural gas outside the territory of Poland are not compliant with the EU regulation on security of gas supply because they “impose additional burden on market participants storing gas outside Poland, risk distortion of competition, hamper the functioning of the internal market and jeopardise security of gas supply.”

Today’s decision is the latest step of an infringement procedure initiated by the Commission in 2018, based on its own investigation and several complaints from market operators.

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