Italy’s Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti has visited Brussels demanding EU action over the merger between Suez and Gaz de France
Tremonti told European Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy that the deal breaks EU rules on the free movement of capital, non-discrimination against foreign companies and market abuse. McCreevy responded his office was “ready to monitor and examine the situation.”
Rome is angry that takeover moves on Suez by Italy’s largest utility, Enel, were blocked by the French government-backed merger between the private energy and water company Suez and mostly state-owned Gas de France.
Meanwhile,the head of Suez, Gerard Mestrallet, has vowed to fight any hostile bid by Enel to break up the deal. He said: “If Enel attacks, we’ll defend ourselves; Enel or any other company. We have a superb project here and we’re going to develop it and we’ll fight to show that no other project would create more value for our shareholders.”
The European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is trying to calm things down. He has called on France and Italy to put their national interests aside and respect EU market rules. He also warned that protectionist policies will do more economic harm than good.