3 October 2007 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) has formally invited Poland to become a new member country.
At a regular meeting in Paris, the Agency’s Governing Board approved the accession request of the Polish government. “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Poland to the IEA”, said IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka.
“Poland – an EU member country since 2004 – plays an important role in the transit of hydrocarbons to Europe and in energy co-operation in the region. Its geographic position means that its membership will greatly enhance the Agency’s presence and energy security in Central and Eastern Europe.”
Poland is the largest economy, energy consumer and energy producer in Central Europe. While a net importer and heavily dependent on crude oil and gas supplies from Russia, Poland is the third largest OECD coal producer.
Poland applied for accession to the IEA in 1994 while still pursuing its membership in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a prerequisite for IEA accession. Poland became a member country of the OECD in December 1996. Since 1990, the country has undertaken thorough market reforms, which transformed the whole energy sector and consumption patterns.
These measures, together with the development of trade and diversification of fuels and supply sources, have enhanced the performance and security of the energy sector and markets. Today, Poland’s energy policy is in line with EU and IEA goals.
Nobuo Tanaka commended the rapid restructuring of the country’s energy policies and programmes: “Poland has made remarkable progress in transforming its energy sector into a market-oriented one that is based on the principles reflected in the IEA Shared Goals”, he said. “There is every reason to expect that this successful process will continue and be reinforced and accelerated by membership in the IEA.”
To become a full member country, Poland will now need to complete the procedures and take the necessary steps under its national legislation to accede to the IEA founding document, the Agreement on an International Energy Program (IEP Agreement). The Slovak Republic, invited earlier this year to join the IEA, is currently completing accession procedures.
Once Poland and the Slovak Republic accede to the IEP Agreement, the number of IEA member countries will increase from 26 to 28.