Germany must make major changes to its energy law following a judgment by the European Court of Justice. The highest European court has fully confirmed a legal action brought by the European Commission against the Federal Republic. As a result, the requirements of the European Electricity Directive and the European Natural Gas Directive have not been properly implemented in Germany. This is essentially the role of the Federal Network Agency as a regulatory authority. It currently sets network charges on the basis of rules decided by politicians. From the point of view of the European Commission, it is not independent enough – it should be able to act at its own discretion.
The judgment is expected to significantly strengthen the influence of the network agency, which is subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Economy. The federal government must now re-establish the calculation of network charges and redefine the role of the network agency. In the energy sector and municipal businesses, there are fears that the regulator could develop its own life and make decisions that could be detrimental to the economy.