Montilla to fight Brussels over Endesa takeover

7th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

7 March 2006, MADRID — Spain's energy minister has challenged Brussels' right to question Madrid's conduct over the controversial takeover battle for Spanish electricity firm Endesa.

7 March 2006

MADRID — Spain's energy minister has challenged Brussels' right to question Madrid's conduct over the controversial takeover battle for Spanish electricity firm Endesa.

The European Commission sent an official letter to Spain demanding to know why it had strengthened the powers of its energy watchdog to allow it to veto a bid by German energy company  E.ON for Endesa.

The government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said it wants Endesa to remain under Spanish control and favours a rival bid by Gas Natural, which is based in Catalonia.

It gave the National Energy Commission (CNE) the right to have a say on whether the German utility's takeover should be allowed to proceed.

José Montilla, the energy minister, replied that Madrid does not plan to veto the German bid using a 2.9 percent state-owned stake in the company.

But he defended the extension of CNE powers, saying most other countries have similar powers to defend domestic energy sectors.

"An energy firm is not he same as a yoghurt manufacturer," he said.

He added: "The energy sector is not strictly within the (EU) bloc's remit."

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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