Europe’s dominant power giants must open up gas and electricity markets to competition. But Russia will not get a free hand in buying up the assets.
The President of the European Commision Jose Manuel Barroso said: “We need to place conditions on ownership of assets on non-European companies to make sure that we all play by the same rules. This is very imporant. We have to have the same rules. So, what we are proposing is to reinforce the internal market to keep it open, and to be sure that we keep the integrity of the internal market. And then we avoid national governments taking different measures that will represent a fragmentation of our internal market.”
The EU’s intention is to force giants such as Germany’s E-ON and Gaz de France to separate their power generating and distribution networks. Russia currently supplies about a quarter of Europe’s gas. The new rules ban foreign firms from controlling Europe’s power networks, unless there are reciprocal deals.