EU raids German energy firms
31 May 2006, BRUSSELS - The European Commission admitted this week that it had raided energy companies in Germany amid suspicions they were in breach of European Union anti-trust rules.
31 May 2006
BRUSSELS - The European Commission admitted this week that it had raided energy companies in Germany amid suspicions they were in breach of European Union anti-trust rules.
The commission - the EU's executive arm - said it had carried out unannounced inspections at energy companies in Germany on May 29-30. The EU executive did not name the firms that had been investigated.
"Surprise inspections are a preliminary step in investigations into suspected anti-competitive practices," the commission said in a statement.
The moves highlight growing EU impatience with governments' failure to open up the energy sector to free competition.
Opening up Europe's energy markets is seen as essential for curbing spiraling energy costs and improving the security of supply in the EU.
Earlier this month, commission officials raided 20 energy companies in six EU countries on suspicion they had abused their dominant market positions.
Austrian energy firm OMV, Belgian gas groups Fluxys and Distrigas, German utilities RWE and E.ON, French state-controlled Gaz de France, Italian energy group ENI and Hungarian state-owned power supplier MVM all said that they had received inspectors.
The commission's actions are further evidence of the prime attention to energy issues being paid by EU governments in response to high oil prices and the price dispute in January between Russia and Ukraine that temporarily cut off gas deliveries to some EU states.
Subject: German News