Competitive wholesale electricity markets increase security of supply, by improving the conditions for investments in power plants and networks. They deliver competitive prices for end consumers and are the most cost-effective way to decarbonise Europe's economy and increase the share of renewable energy. Completing the liberalised internal electricity market by 2014 is essential for European integration, and will benefit industry and consumers alike.
Two significant recent developments are driving the development of a European internal market for energy. The first is the Third Energy Package, adopted in 2009. Revolving around fairer prices for consumers, cleaner energy and better security of supply, this legislation requires regulators and transmission system operators to develop common technical rules (set out in so-called framework guidelines and network codes) that create a single regulatory framework for cross-border electricity trading across Europe.
The second was the first ever European Council dedicated to energy on 4 February 2011. Government leaders at this meeting took a firm stand in favour of the market integration agenda and sent a unanimous call for a rapid and efficient completion of integrated electricity and gas markets by 2014. This is an ambitious deadline - but it is feasible if all key players unite and work jointly to make it happen.
Our industry is committed to competitive, integrated and efficient markets, which will allow us to provide our customers with innovative and competitive low-carbon products. Together with the European Commission and other stakeholders, we are involved in the collective process of defining models for an integrated European electricity market. Continued progress along this pathway will allow our sector to accommodate the fast development of renewable energy sources, pursue market harmonisation and implement decarbonisation policies.