Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Official Journal Reference

L 161 of 1996-06-29

Legislative Reference

1254/96/CE of 1996-06-05
To establish a series of guidelines covering the objectives, priorities and broad lines of measures by the Community in the area of the trans-European energy networks (electricity and natural gas) and to identify projects of common interest.


The Treaty on European Union sets out the broad parameters for Community action to contribute to the establishment and subsequent development of trans-European networks in the areas of transport, telecommunications and energy infrastructure. Community action is aimed at promoting the interconnection and interoperability of national networks, as well as access to such networks, paying particular attention to the need to link island, landlocked and peripheral regions with the rest of the Community.

In accordance with the provisions of Article 129(d) of the Treaty, the current Decision establishes a series of guidelines which identify the objectives, priorities and broad categories of measures in respect of European energy networks. A number of projects of common interest concerning the establishment of the trans-European energy network are also included.

The Community promotes the interconnection, interoperability and development of the trans-European energy networks with the aim of:

- Allowing effective operation of the internal market in general and the internal energy market in particular. At the same time, the rational production, distribution and utilization of energy resources and the development of renewable energy resources are also encouraged so as to reduce the cost of energy to the consumer and to render the European economy more competitive;

- Facilitating the development and reducing the isolation of the less-favoured regions of the Community, thereby helping to strengthen economic and social cohesion;

- Reinforcing the security of energy supplies, for example by strengthening relations with third countries where this is mutually beneficial, in particular in the framework of the Energy Charter Treaty and relevant cooperation agreements concluded by the Community.

To give expression to these objectives, the following priorities have been established by the Community:

For electricity networks:

- Connection of isolated electricity networks to the interconnected European networks;
- Development of interconnections between Member States and, insofar as they are necessary, of internal connections in order to make the best use of these interconnections;
- Development of interconnections with third countries in Europe and the Mediterranean region which contribute to improving the reliability and security of the Community's electricity networks or to supplying the Community with electricity;

For natural gas networks:

- Introduction of natural gas into new regions;
- Connection of isolated gas networks to the interconnected European networks, including improvements needed to the existing networks for this purpose and the connection of the separate natural gas networks;
- Increasing the transmission (gas delivery pipelines), reception (LNG) and storage capacities needed to satisfy demand and diversification of supply sources and routes for natural gas.

In order to contribute to creating a more favourable context for the development of trans-European energy networks, the Council adopted a series of measures on 26 March 1996 (Decision 96/391/EC Official Journal No L 161 of 29.6.1996). These include promoting cooperation between the Member States and technical cooperation projects between the entities responsible for the trans-European networks. Provisions are also made for the allocation of Community financial support.


No details are available for this section.


The Commission is responsible for implementing the Decision assisted by a committee composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission.

Community action focuses on the identification of projects of common interest and the creation of a more favourable context for the development of trans-European energy networks in the electricity and natural gas sectors. For electricity networks, Community action applies to:

- All high-voltage lines, excluding those of distributed networks and submarine lines, provided this infrastructure is used for inter-regional or inter-national transmission;
- Any equipment or installations essential for the system in question to operate properly, including protection, monitoring and control systems.

With regard to natural gas networks, the following are eligible:

- High-pressure gas pipelines, excluding those of distribution networks, making it possible to supply the regions of the Community from internal or external sources;
- Underground storage facilities connected to the above-mentioned high-pressure gas pipelines;
- Reception, storage and regasification facilities for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and also gas carriers according to the capacities to be supplied;
- Any equipment or installations essential for the system in question to operate properly, including protection, monitoring and control systems.

A number of specific projects of common interest within Member States, between Member States and between Member States and third countries are published in the Official Journal No L 161 of 29.6.1996 as annexes to Decision No 1254/96.

Every two years, the Commission is required to report to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of the provisions contained in this Decision.
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