EU - Barroso criticises France, Germany on energy regulation

14th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has criticised France and Germany for doing too little to liberalise the European energy market.

   BERLIN, March 14, 2008  - EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has
criticised France and Germany for doing too little to liberalise the European
energy market, in an interview published Thursday.
   "The position of France and Germany on opening up the energy market does
not go far enough," he said in an interview with Germany's Handelsblatt
business daily and five other European newspapers.
   The European Commission insists that unbundling energy production and
supply networks is the best way to open the market. Big energy producers in
France and Germany own power stations as well as the national distribution
networks.
   The two countries want Brussels to explore other ways to liberalise the
continent's electricity and gas sectors.
   They back a proposal whereby companies could be split up into affiliates
with separate management but remain within the parent group.
   "I am sure that in the end we will manage to have a complete separation of
energy groups," Barroso said.
   For Brussels, big integrated energy companies that control the distribution
networks inevitably means less competition in the market, a point consumer
groups have made increasingly as power costs have risen sharply.
   For its part, France has warned that the shake-up could in practice reduce
competition and French European Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet has
attacked the Commission's proposals as being driven by the "ideological
position" of certain officials.
   German power giant EON said last month it is ready to sell its transmission
network, bowing to pressure from Brussels, but putting it at odds with Berlin
on how to liberalise Europe's energy sector.
   EON, which has fallen foul of European regulators over its market
dominance, said it was now ready to sell its transmission network -- but only
to a non-competitor -- along with 4,800 megawatts of generation capacity to
rivals.

AFP 

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