Chapter 5: Defining and assessing the current EU gas market design
Each organized market has a specific configuration, which derives from the setting of its institutions, the arrangements regulating the interactions between market actors, the number of market participants, the mechanics of trade, the sequence of market models on the wholesale market and the methodologies of establishing market access tariffs. Such a configuration is generically perceived as market design. There are different ways in which market design may be defined, based on the market features listed above and the importance assigned to each of them. The common thread of all the possible definitions is the construction and matching of a set of institutions and legal tools to meet pre-defined market objectives. By default, the concept of design entails a purposefully creative or constructing action. In the case of natural gas, the EU market design has been specifically conceived in order to satisfy energy policy goals associated with the said market, while forging market integration. In its development, EU gas market design has been influenced by traditional principles of market reform (unbundling, competition, access to resources and transit lines) and has been modulated by specific energy objectives and tangential policies. Based on this premise, market design is defined, in the understanding of the present chapter, as the pattern of collaboration and distribution of responsibilities between legislative and regulatory tools operating in the EU gas market, in view of achieving predetermined energy policy objectives. The assessment of EU gas market design relies on two complementary sets of arguments.
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