On Tuesday 10 November 2015, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy, Étienne Schneider and the Minister of Energy, the Enivornment and Sustainable Development of the Federal Government of Belgium, Marie Christine Marghem, launched the first European integration project for the gas sector.
The initiative forms part of an EU willingness to build a European gas market without borders and will constitute the first market integration between Member States.
"The Luxembourg Presidency is committed to promoting the implementation of an Energy Union, or rather an internal market for energy," commented Étienne Schneider. "The challenges for the Union include the need to fundamentally change the European energy system allowing consumers to have sustainable energy at reasonable prices. The integrated BeLux market is a pioneering project which strengthens the security of the gas supply in Luxembourg".
Due to the common natural gas trade area between Belgium and Luxembourg, interconnection tariffs at the border between the two countries have now been removed. The integration project aims to have a positive impact on the price of natural gas as well as increase competition between suppliers.
The gas transmission system operators Fluxys Belgium and CREOS Luxembourg equally hold balansys, the company that is in charge of applying the rules and balancing tariffs in the integrate Belgo-Luxembourg area. The creation of such a joint venture, in accordance with European legislation advocating the integration of national markets, also expects to contribute to the development of the European internal natural gas market.
Photo by MECO (L-R: Étienne Schneider; Marie Christine Marghem)