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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.

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Commission Opinion [COM(97)2005 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(98)704 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(1999)506 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2000)706 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2001)700 final - SEC(2001)1749 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2002)700 final - SEC(2002)1405 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1203 - Not published in the Official Journal]Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]


In its Opinion of July 1997, the European Commission did not foresee any major problems in Latvia's approximating progressively to the acquis in the medium term, provided that current efforts were intensified. Questions of particular importance in the pre-accession period were the adjustment of monopolies, including import and export issues, access to networks, energy pricing, building up mandatory oil stocks, energy efficiency and environmental standards. No major difficulties were foreseen for compliance with Euratom provisions, but Latvia was invited to join certain international nuclear regimes without delay.

The November 1998 Report confirmed that reasonable progress had been made with regard to Latvian legislation and regulatory structures. As noted in the Opinion, further work was needed to prepare the internal energy market, including the adjustment of monopolies, energy pricing, access to networks, building up oil stocks, energy efficiency and environmental standards.

In 1999 the Commission noted that further progress had been made since the last Regular Report. Greater attention needed to be paid to preparing for the internal energy market (electricity and gas directives), including the adjustment of monopolies, access to networks, energy pricing, emergency preparedness including the building up of mandatory oil stocks, restructuring programmes, and improvement of energy efficiency. Legislation put into place recently gave a solid basis from which to continue these efforts. No major difficulties were foreseen for compliance with Euratom provisions.

In the November 2000 Report, the Commission considered that since the last regular report Latvia had continued the process of aligning with the acquis. Legislation had been adopted in the energy sector, particularly in the areas of electricity, oil and energy efficiency. No important changes in the administrative structures had been undertaken during the last year. However, Latvia needed to step up its efforts for some areas of the acquis, such as oil stocks and the internal energy market.

In the November 2001 Report, the Commission considered that Latvia had made some advances, but that considerable progress still needed to be achieved, particularly with regard to setting up the internal market and increasing oil reserves. A number of new administrative bodies had been set up. As part of the work undertaken since the last report, Latvia has taken measures to gradually open the internal electricity market and the Government had approved a national energy efficiency strategy.

The October 2002 Report found that Latvia had continued the alignment with the energy acquis and progress had been achieved, in particular as regards security of supply and the creation of the internal energy market. Steps had been taken to further improve the administrative capacity and to reinforce the legal base for the functioning of the Public Utilities Commission and the State Energy Inspectorate.

The 2003 Report noted that Latvia was essentially meeting the commitments and requirements arising from the negotiations on security of supply, energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear energy and nuclear safety.


The key elements of the energy acquis comprise Treaty provisions and secondary legislation concerning in particular competition and State aid, the internal energy market (including directives on electricity, price transparency, gas and electricity transit, hydrocarbons, licensing, emergency response and security stock obligations), nuclear energy, energy efficiency and environmental rules.

The Community acquis in the field of nuclear energy today consists of a framework of legal and political instruments including international agreements. At present, it addresses issues of health and safety, including radiation protection, safety of nuclear installations, management of radioactive waste, investment, promotion of research, the creation of a nuclear common market, supplies, safeguards and international relations.

The White Paper (preparing the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe for their integration into the internal market of the European Union) stresses in the section on energy the need for full application of key internal market directives in combination with EU competition law. As regards the nuclear sector, the White Paper refers to supply problems, safeguards and shipments of nuclear waste.


In September 1997, the Latvian Government adopted the National Programme for Energy until 2020, as well as policies on the power and heating sectors. The Energy Law entered into force in October 1998, and should increase competition in the sector as well as addressing pricing and tariffs, third-party access, emergency planning, conservation and environmental protection. In March 1999, regulations on the supply and use of electrical energy, gas and heat were amended. In November 1999, the authorities defined a global policy for the energy sector, covering areas such as electricity and heating and providing for diversification of energy sources.

With regard to security of supply and more particularly oil stocks, Latvian legislation and the stocks themselves do not yet comply with the acquis. In February 2000, the Government adopted a strategy document on the establishment of oil stocks and considered in 2000 that it would need a period of 10 to 25 years to build up the required oil stocks equal to 90 days' consumption. The strategy document was revised and in August 2001 the Government adopted a document/programme providing for a detailed plan and financial commitments to build up the required stocks. The private sector is expected to participate. A Regulation aiming at compliance with EC legislation on maintaining oil stocks was approved. Regarding oil supply crisis management measures, progress has continued with the adoption of implementing legislation in 2002 defining restrictions on energy consumption.

In preparation for competitiveness and the internal energy market, Latvia needs to pay special attention to this area. In November 2000, the Minister for the Economy endorsed the programme to restructure Latvenergo, the public energy-producing company, and the timetable for preparing the major decisions. This process must be carried forward because the current situation is hampering the internal market. With regard to the opening of the electricity and gas markets, Latvia has made progress concerning the preparations for opening the electricity market and a working party is studying the questions relating to the internal gas market. Nevertheless, a great many issues still need to be resolved before an internal energy market can be set up, such as restructuring and privatisation programmes, the opening of the market and the arrangements for access to the networks. Complete alignment with the two directives to eventually set up the internal electricity and gas markets is far from being achieved. A policy document on Energy Policy in the Electricity Sector, aiming at ensuring the reliability and quality of electricity supply and at creating competition in the electricity market, was approved in 2002.

Remaining gas and electricity price distortions need to be removed as soon as possible and the recently adopted gas and electricity Directives need to be transposed.

Latvia signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 and ratified the Energy Charter Protocol on Energy Efficiency and related environmental aspects in October 1998. In March 1999, the Consumer Rights Protection law was passed, including provisions on labelling. However, in the area of energy efficiency, alignment with the acquis is only partial. In November 2000, the government approved the national energy efficiency strategy and in January 2001, a set of legal measures to implement this strategy. Implementing legislation was adopted in 2002 to promote the use of renewable energy sources and domestic production of heat and electricity in combined heat and power plants.

The necessary institutional structure to ensure administration and regulation of the sector has been set up, but the 2000 Report noted that it needed to be strengthened further and made more independent. The new regulatory authority, the Commission for Regulating Public Services, became operational in September 2001. It replaces the former Council for Regulating Energy and the new organisation seeks to separate the functions of devising and following up energy policies from those of regulation. The administrative structures which are in place need to be strengthened.

As regards nuclear energy, Latvia's only nuclear research reactor, in Salaspils, was shut down in June 1998 and is currently being decommissioned. In July 2001, Latvia set up a radiation protection centre responsible for surveillance and monitoring in the area of radiation protection and nuclear safety. Latvia became a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 1997. In June 2001, the European Council adopted a report on nuclear safety in the context of enlargement. The report recommends all the applicant countries to pursue their national programmes on the safe management of used fuel and radioactive waste as well as the safety of their nuclear reactors. Regarding nuclear material safeguards, Latvia has concluded a Full Scope Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and an additional protocol. In this context, Latvia has continued to make progress in finding solutions for managing spent fuel from the research reactor and radioactive waste. In 2003 Latvia submitted additional information covering recent progress made in various fields of nuclear safety, including legislation, the Radiation Safety Centre, the radioactive waste management agency RAPA, administrative capacity, the new radioactive waste strategy and the strategy for decommissioning the Salaspils reactor.

Last updated: 26.01.2004