The EU’s new Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) will be located in Ljubljana, Slovenia, ministers decided yesterday evening (6 December).
The decision, reached by EU energy ministers over dinner, is part of the implementation of the bloc’s third energy liberalisation package agreed last March (EURACTIV 25/03/09).
The agency, set to become operational on 3 March 2011, will coordinate the work of national regulatory authorities for gas and electricity.
ACER has an advisory role to the European institutions, but it will also have independent powers. For example, it will be able to take binding decisions on cross-border infrastructure if national authorities fail to reach agreement or refer the case to it.
Moreover, the agency will monitor and report on developments in energy markets. It will help to create European network rules and make recommendations on the ten-year network development plans submitted by national authorities.
The decision to grant the agency to Slovenia was a disappointment for Romania and Slovakia, which had campaigned vigorously to host it themselves. The bids were propped up by promises of rent-free periods, and Romania had offered to grant diplomatic immunity to all ACER staff (EURACTIV 03/06/09).
Slovenia won by 15 votes, ahead of Slovakia with 11.