A proposal for a regulation on energy statistics was slipped at the very last minute into the Energy Package of 10 January. While this proposal certainly does not have the strategic character of the other texts, it aims to put an end to the incongruous situation that has always existed, whereby the collection of most of the statistics on energy is done on a voluntary basis by the member states. In other words, to date this collection lacked any specific legal framework.

For some time now, the European Commission has noted deterioration in the quality of these statistics, in terms of exhaustiveness, accuracy and reactiveness. Yet, reliable statistics are vital for applying Community legislation. Decision 280/2004/CE on the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions and the directives on green electricity (2001/77/CE) and cogeneration (2004/8/CE) are examples of where having access to reliable and up-to-date statistics is essential to enable developments in the situation to be followed, which these texts make mandatory. The impact of the energy sector on the environment is such that the collection of data has a significant effect on the monitoring of the environment in the EU. Lastly, the fits and starts in energy prices have made it even more important for Europeans - be they companies or just citizens - to have information in this area.

However, the liberalisation of the electricity and gas markets has made it difficult to collect data. Many new operators, in production and sales, have emerged and made the task more...

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