The European Energy Commissioner, Mr. Christos Papoutsis, has recently presented a study on the prospects for the development of a peripheral electricity market in the Balkan region. In presenting the report, the Commissioner underlined the great potential of the Balkan region for energy development and stated, "In view of the conference held in Bucharest last November, I think that development of the Balkan energy market can contribute to peace and stability in the whole region of South-Eastern Europe and the Black Sea". The study presents a proposal for a competitive electricity market in the region and includes operating, development and electricity trade criteria. The seven chapters of the study present the current political, institutional and socio-economic situation in the area, and a brief overview of the electricity sector in neighbouring areas. A synthesis of the future regional electricity market (REM) and restrictions therein, including environmental restrictions and those relating to security of supply is presented. The overall conclusion reveals a strong trend towards the creation of an REM. This trend also emerged during the Ministerial Conference of the Black Sea Regional Energy Centre countries, held in Bucharest on 28 November 1997. The Memorandum signed at this conference includes a proposal made by Commissioner Papoutsis on the need for further study on the creation of an REM in the Balkans. Further study on the development of the Balkan electricity market will begin soon through the Black Sea Regional Energy Centre, financed under the PHARE programme, while a project entitled "Energy Interconnections in South-Eastern Europe", to be funded under the SYNERGY programme, is also due to be launched shortly. At the moment the conditions do not favour investment in the region and these studies aim to reveal ways to enhance cooperation between these countries in relation to energy, to establish the appropriate environment for promoting energy transactions and more favourable investment conditions.