The European Union’s competition chief has threatened to break up individual energy giants that use their control over production and distribution to keep potential rivals out of the market.
Commissioner Neelie Kroes said a new report on the energy sector sought to address “serious problems”.
“Europe’s consumers, Europe’s businesses and the economy as a whole are still not benefiting from the full advantage that should flow from the opening up of Europe’s energy markets in terms of lower prices and better choice of services.”
In response to the Commission recommendation that EU states approve unbundling, German utilities downplayed the idea that separations would improve competition.
It drew immediate fire from the French government.
The Commission says break-ups would encourage alternative energy producers and big companies in adjacent countries into markets that are now locked up.