The European Competition Commissioner has sent shock-waves through the region’s energy industries by proposing that integrated French and German gas and electricity giants might be broken up.The Commissioner, Neelie Kroes said there were too many conflicts of interest for companies that own distribution networks as well as supplying customers. She promised a more wide-ranging regulatory swoop to inject competition into the European energy market.
“Europe needs open markets. I am ready to force them open,” she said. “There can be no real step change on energy unless the markets function openly and freely. If we are not successful in our energy policy as a commission, then we are failing as a commission.”
Although she named no specific European states or companies, analysts said her primary target would be the big incumbent operators in France and German. In Germany the obvious integrated players are EON and RWE, while in France it is Electricité de France.
Brussels will report its findings in January.