The Legal Status of the Energy Regulator in Ukraine in the Context of Recent Legislative Changes and European Integration
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The energy sector is a strategic industry of each state. Energy industry is one of the most important regulated fields at the EU level and a crucial direction of cooperation between the EU and Ukraine. EU legislation, primarily directives and regulations from the Third Energy Package, prescribe requirements in respect of the legal status of national regulatory authorities in the fields of energy and natural gas. Ukraine, as a full-fledged member of the Energy Community, as well as in line with the EU‒Ukraine Association Agreement, shall institute laws and regulations necessary for the implementation of those requirements. In particular, EU legislation stipulates requirements with regard to the independence of national regulatory authorities from other state authorities during the exercise of their regulatory powers. In recent years, Ukrainian public authorities have undertaken steps to develop and approve a legal framework in order to implement the requirements of EU energy legislation, in particular those related to the legal status of national regulatory authorities. The approval of the Law of Ukraine on the National Energy and Communal Services Regulatory Commission in 2016 was one of the critical achievements in this direction. However, the new Law has not solved the problem of the constitutional legal status of the energy regulator. The Constitution of Ukraine’s provisions specifying the powers of the President of Ukraine and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as against permanent independent regulatory authorities (e.g., pertaining to the establishment, appointment and dismissal of members, accountability) shall be amended in order to bolster the principle of independence of national regulatory authorities in the energy sector as prescribed by EU legislation.
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