Network codes are part of the package of tools of European energy policy.
Network codes are associated with the aim of the European internal market in electricity. Key actors in the preparation of network codes are the European Commission, the energy regulators through their cooperative agency ACER, the European transmission system operators through their cooperative organisation ENTSO-E, and the European distribution system operators through their cooperation organisation EU DSO Entity. In the different stages of the network code preparation process, different stakeholders in the energy sector are being extensively consulted.
During the initial stage of preparation, the European Commission asks ACER to prepare a framework guideline within six months, which sets the network code objectives in principle. Details of developing and amending the network codes are regulated by the recast Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2019/943 on the internal market for electricity.
Network codes are approved in the comitology process, in which the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament must seek consensus on the issue at hand. The network codes approved in the comitology process are published in the European Union's official journal, after which they become legislation directly in force in the member states.
From a point of view of their legislative status, the network codes are European regulations, i.e. they arelegislation directly in force in EU member states. As European legislation, the network codes are ahead of national legislation in the hierarchy, and in case of conflict, override it. The member states are responsible for implementing the network codes.
The network codes are divided into three groups: connections, operations and the market codes.
It is the duty of the member states to implement the network codes, and to ensure the harmonisation of national legislation with the network codes.
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