There has been detailed engagement by my Department with the European Commission over recent years on the transposition and implementation of the EU third energy package. The Commission notice of referral refers to Ireland having adopted a considerable amount of legislation required by the directive but notes that some provisions remain to be transposed.
My Department is at an advanced stage in the drafting of a limited number of additional legislative provisions. These will provide for the full transposition of most of the outstanding provisions of the electricity directive, some of which are included in the matters which the Commission has decided to refer to the European Court of Justice, with the exception of a provision on unbundling, which is also included in the matters referred by the Commission. I am committed to having these remaining technical provisions fully transposed as early as possible this year, well in advance of any hearing in the European Court of Justice.
In relation to transposition of the rules on ownership unbundling, Ireland opted for, and subsequently received, certification from the European Commission for the operation of the electricity transmission system under Article 9(9) of the directive and so did not apply full ownership unbundling as provided for in Article 9(9). Certification under the Article 9(9) option is obtained provided the European Commission is satisfied with regard to multiple matters concerning the ownership and operation of the transmission system.
I am awaiting receipt of the specific detail of the European Commission's case in the notice of application to the European Court and I will consider my response once legal examination of these issues is completed. The application of the Commission to the court has not yet been received. In view of the complexity of the directive, the extensive number of provisions to be transposed and the detailed correspondence engaged in to date, it appears prudent and appropriate to me to await such a legal examination of the precise statement of the outstanding issues, and of the case itself, before deciding on the next steps.