|Author (Person)||Banks, Martin|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.11, No.39, 3.11.05|
By Martin Banks
The UK presidency is pressing to increase the pace of liberalisation of Europe's energy markets.
UK Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks, who will be chairing a meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels on 1 December, wants industries and consumers to be offered greater choice.
The Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes will offer ministers preliminary findings of a competition probe into the electricity and gas markets.
Last month, the UK sent a 60-strong delegation of industry experts to Brussels to impress on Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs the need for other countries to liberalise their markets.
A spokesman for Wicks said: "The mismatch between our liberalised market and the less competitive markets on the continent has become increasingly obvious. If we want to ensure the best prices for users throughout the EU we have to challenge artificial barriers such as protected markets and restrictions on network access."
"This will be a key priority on the Energy Council agenda," he added.
The UK's concern is largely shared by the Commission whose two directives on the internal gas and electricity markets theoretically provide freedom of choice of supplier for industrial customers since 1 July 2004 and for domestic customers from 1 July 2007.
The Commission is currently drafting its annual report on the state of the internal market in gas and electricity. Last year's report criticised the market structure saying that, "the gas and electricity markets in too many member states are dominated by one or two companies, and there is often inadequate capacity for cross-border competition".
Preview of the Energy and Telecommunications Council meeting on 1-2 December 2005, Brussels. Among the items to be discussed were the pace of liberalisation of Europe's energy markets and preliminary findings of a competition probe into the electricity and gas markets, to be presented by the European Commissioner for Competition, Neelie Kroes.
|Countries / Regions||Europe|