New Gas Market Act

Lexology, July 29, 2013

The new Gas Market Act adopted by the Croatian Parliament on 22 February 2013 was published in the Official Gazette of Croatia (“Narodne Novine”) No. 28 on 6 March 2013 and fully came into force on 1 July 2013 (“GMA”) as the day of the Croatian accession to the EU. Along with the GMA, the Croatian Ministry of Commerce adopted the amendments to the pertinent law - the Bylaw on Organization of Natural Gas Market.

Beside these two “core” regulations, the regime of gas market is subject to application of a number of general laws such as: i) the Energy Act; ii) the Act on Regulation of Energy Activities; iii) the General Administrative Procedure Act; iv) the Concession Act.

The reform of the energy sector in the Republic of Croatia began in 2001 by introduction of the first package of energy laws, when beside general Energy Law, a number of particular energy laws, which set up general legal framework for restructuring and reorganization of the energy sector, opening of energy markets and regulation of energy activities were adopted.

The process of joining the European Union made adjustment of the Croatian energy laws to the European energy legislation and standards of the internal European market inevitable. For this reason, in 2004, the Croatian Parliament adopted second package of the energy legislation aiming at further adjustment of, at that point of time, existing legislative and regulatory framework in the energy sector with the European Union energy legislation and as a result in the gas market, the new Gas Market Act 2007 was adopted. The Gas Market Act was subject to subsequent changes and amendments on several occasions (2008, 2009 and 2011).

In 2009 the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted the “Third Package" of the energy regulations aiming at organizing a fully liberalized and productive energy sector. The constant changes of the EU energy legislation and the requirement of Croatia to adjust its laws with the EU laws was the reason why in 2013 the new GMA was adopted. The main purpose of the GMA is adjustment to the “Third Package” in particular in the field of public services, supply security, transport and distribution, liberalization of the gas market and protection of consumers. The GMA which has overall 113 articles and is divided in twenty-one chapters implements in the Croatian legal system the Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas.

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