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EU backs its energy plan despite objections

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EU backs its energy plan despite objections

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The European Commission has defended its plan to open gas and electricity markets to more competition while at the same time setting strict terms for the foreign ownership of EU assets despite Russian objections. As part of the plan, generators and suppliers will be forced to off-load their transmission infrastructure or hand it to an independent operator.

The legislation will prevent foreign firms from controlling European networks unless their countries adopt EU rules. Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs expects long and difficult negotiations, but he hopes the rules will be adopted by the end of 2008.