May 8, 2008
A compromise deal is taking shape in Brussels that could see France and
Germany win a six-year delay in opening their energy markets to full competition, according to Alejo Vidal-Quadras, one of the leading MEPs on the dossier.France,
Germany and six other member states are leading the opposition to Commission plans to dismantle energy firms as a means of completing the liberalisation of the EU gas and electricity markets. Together, they tabled an alternative proposal which, they argue, would guarantee a similar result. Called the ‘Third Way’, the proposal would save energy firms from splitting their energy production and transmission businesses – a process known as ‘ownership unbundling’ for which the Commission has been pushing. The European Commission, Parliament and EU member states are heading for a middle way on energy liberalisation, said Vidal-Quadras (Spain, EPP-ED), who has led similar negotiations in the past.A first step is expected today (6 May) when MEPs in the Parliament’s industry committee vote on a report by Eluned Morgan (UK, PSE) on the Commission’s proposal for a directive to complete the internal market in electricity.And although the committee is widely expected to back the Commission, Vidal-Quadras says a “European logic” will prevail to find a compromise in the end. “Now, everyone is taking strong positions and trying to put pressure on the other side, but at the end there is a European logic that normally would work.”
In a sign that it is ready for compromise, the European Commission appeared to soften its stance. Ahead of the vote, it specified the conditions under which it could accept an alternative proposal – called the ‘Third Way’ – backed by France and Germany.
From EurActivAuthor : EMI