15 March 2005 - Vienna has been chosen as the location for the Southeast European Energy Secretariat. The Austrian capital is home to utility Verbund, whose president Hans Heider welcomed the announcement.
"The decision for Vienna as the site of the Southeast European Energy Secretariat is a great success for our economic policy", said Heider, who is also President of the umbrella organization of the European electricity industry Eurelectric.
The establishment of a Secretariat for the new Energy Community of South Eastern Europe (ECSEE) comes ahead of the signing of a multi-lateral treaty in June between eight countries in the region establishing a common energy market. This is expected to act as a springboard for ongoing re-structuring and the eventual linking of the region with the single EU energy market.
This region's power and gas markets are reasonably integrated and are evolving. The area has benefited from much donor finance international agencies like the UN, EU, EBRD and World Bank, yet it remains an area with a large electricity deficit. The region's power grid was re-connected with the main European (UTCE) grid in October 2004.
"This move confirms Austria's overall positively perceived cutting edge position in the liberalization of the market and also ensures its long-term top ranking in European energy policy. This is one of the most important corridors for the construction of a future Pan-European domestic energy market which will extend over the borders of the new EU-25", according to Haider. Verbund is already active in the energy business in numerous countries of the region in question and also sees ongoing extensive growth potential for the region.