Italy wants the European Union to intervene in the planned merger between Suez and Gaz de France, accusing the French government of protectionism.
European Commission spokesman Johannes Laitenberger said Italy has not yet formally complained, but a spokesman for EU’s Internal Market Commissioner said there seems to be no violation of the treaty.
European Commission vice-president Franco Frattini insisted: “Protectionism is always wrong, The European interest must prevail. Our Commission is committed to that interest prevailing.”
This is the latest attempted merger in this sector with Germany’s E.ON trying to buy Spanish company Endesa, but meeting government opposition from Madrid.
If that deal goes ahead it would become the biggest European energy supplier .. with a market value of ninety five and a half billion euros.
Philippe de Buck, the head of the European employers’ federation, UNICE favours such mergers.
He said: “It’s a fact that the French government is an owner of Gaz of France, so it’s clear the French government will play a part. Governments have always been concerned about energy; it is a sensitive element of a nation’s economy.”
Establishing a Europe wide energy policy is one of the potentially difficult subjects which is due to discussed at the next EU leaders summit on the 23 and 24 of March.