Referring to the association agreements that the EU is negotiating with a number of countries; New Europe asked if the European Commission is considering the immediate establishment of an independent authority to regulate the public service sectors in countries where private economic operators already operate to guarantee their rights and have a voice.
A European Commission spokesperson replied: “The Commission is currently negotiating an Association Agreement between the EU and its Member States and Andorra, Monaco and San Marino on the participation of small countries in the internal market and related horizontal and accompanying policies as well as possibly cooperation in other areas. This responds to the EU’s objective of developing a privileged relationship with neighboring countries. The establishment of an independent regulatory authority for the public service sectors is one of the topics currently under discussion. The future agreement must provide for the maintenance of the proper functioning, integrity and homogeneity of the internal market as well as legal certainty while simultaneously taking into account the specificities of each of the three partner countries and their particular situations. The participation of the three countries in the EU internal market foreseen in the future agreement should be based, inter alia, on mutual and shared values, the indivisibility of the four freedoms of the internal market and the related horizontal and flanking policies, and creating a level playing field. This implies that access to sectors of the EU internal market must guarantee the take-up, implementation and enforcement of the EU acquis in the three countries. The Commission, together with the relevant national authorities, directly applies EU competition rules, including as regards sectoral monopolies, ensuring that all companies compete equally and fairly in the market interior. This benefits citizens, businesses and the internal market as a whole. This requires the development of supervision components despite the small size of our partners’ markets”
On June 30e then European Commission Vice-President Šefčovič made some remarks on the roadmap paving the way for an Association Agreement with Andorra, Monaco and San Marino, he said:“This future association agreement could be one of the most ambitious offered by the EU to external partners. The roadmap reflects the political ambition of the Commission, shared with the Council, to conclude the negotiations on the future Association Agreement by the end of 2023. To achieve this objective, the roadmap contains an ambitious program , including some country-specific considerations, and a timeline for the next 18 months. Our clear overarching goal is to further strengthen our relationship, including through integration into the EU single market with its four freedoms.