The EU's single energy market has expanded into the Western Balkans with the signing of a treaty in Athens.

The Energy Community South East Europe Treaty is the first multilateral treaty to cover all countries in South East Europe and aims to bring about further energy market liberalisation.

The Energy Community in South East Europe Treaty aims to create a single stable regulatory framework for the trading of energy across borders through ensuring that the South Eastern European (SEE) countries adopt the EU’s single market in areas such as energy, environment and competition.

The signatories include the European Union, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo.

UK Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson said: “The Treaty is good news for security of energy supply in the region because it will provide a stable climate for investment in infrastructure. It has already led to a commitment from the World Bank to provide $1billion worth of ‘fast-track’ loans to assist investments throughout the region, which will provide new opportunities for companies in the UK and EU.”