Politicians divided over Essent takeover

14th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

Unions say the proposed takeover of Dutch energy company Essent by Germany's RWE will not lead to any job losses.

AMSTERDAM -- A spokesperson for Abvakabo FNV says union representatives have spoken with members of both companies' boards of directors, who assured the union that current working conditions and pension agreements would remain in force.

Essent's shareholders, six Dutch provinces and 140 municipalities, agreed to the takeover late on Monday evening. Political reaction to the takeover has been divided; the two largest coalition parties, the Christian Democrat CDA and the Labour Party, say the sale is the logical result of a liberalised energy market. The conservative opposition party VVD agrees.

The Socialist Party, which is vehemently opposed to the takeover, called on the government to block the sale and demanded an emergency parliamentary debate on the issue. The cabinet has now agreed to do so and Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven will defend the cabinet position later this week. Socialist Party leader Agnes Kant says, "the energy sector is crucial for the Netherlands and should not be sold off," adding, "if necessary the state will have to buy Essent's shares from the provinces and municipalities".

The deal still has to be approved by the competition watchdog authorities in Germany, the Netherlands and at European Union level.

Radio Netherlands/ Expatica

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