EU's Barroso warns against 'economic patriotism'

9th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 9, 2006 (AFP) - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday criticised "economic patriotism" on French television, and warned of possible energy shortages without a joint European policy.

PARIS, March 9, 2006 (AFP) - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday criticised "economic patriotism" on French television, and warned of possible energy shortages without a joint European policy.

"Frankly we haven't liked...certain declarations calling for a certain economic nationalism," Barroso said on France 2, amid growing concerns about protectionism in the 25-nation European Union.

"In general, when politicians speak of economic patriotism and strategic interests of their country, that can have a negative influence on other countries. It can call into question our internal market," he said.

In a recent example of France's policy to protect its interests, state-controlled Gaz de France announced that it would buy French power and water group Suez -- a move Rome criticised as a deliberate block to a takeover of Suez by Italian energy giant Enel.

Enel, which had declared an interest in acquiring Suez, has asked the EU Commission to investigate the deal.

Barroso warned EU countries last week against "a return to nationalist rhetoric" after Paris announced the merger plans.

The commission chief on Wednesday called for French support for a common European energy policy at the presentation of a commission "Green Book" on energy.

"We indeed have an energy problem. If we don't take measures, we could have the problem of shortages," he said, adding that he did not want to be "alarmist" for now.

Barroso said he would travel to Moscow ahead of a European summit on March 23 and 24, to seek "a constructive approach" with Russia on European energy policy.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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