THE EUROPEAN UNION is taking Ireland and the UK to the European Court of Justice over the “inadequate” infrastructure of gas lines in the two jurisdictions, which it claims pose a breach to EU competition regulations.
In a statement released today, the Commission said that the “maximum interconnection capacity is not offered in the UK and Ireland as the pipeline connecting Northern Ireland and Ireland is not open to the market… This means that gas companies in Ireland cannot directly trade gas with Northern Ireland or vice versa.”
As well as this, the Commission continued, the pipeline connecting Scotland and Northern Ireland did not have the capacity for commercial trade or short-term services.
The Commission welcomed the intended introduction of common arrangements for gas between the Republic and Northern Ireland but said that, because the project to do this had been delayed, it would pursue an infringement procedure.
“According to EU gas rules, the maximum interconnection capacity between member states and between different gas transmission systems must be offered to the market so that consumers can fully benefit from competition on the market,” the statement said.
If Ireland and the UK achieve the changes required by the EU they will avoid a court ruling. However, both jurisdictions face daily fines if they are found t0 be in breach of EU law.