March 13, 2008
German Deputy Economy Minister Peter Hintze said E.ON’s decision was “not the best backdrop” to the day’s ministerial discussions, according to the Associated Press. “The timing coincidence of these events, at a moment when the Commission is trying to force through a very sharp position against a minority, it’s a very questionable game,” Hintze added, according to Reuters.Speaking after the ministers’ meeting, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said E.ON’s offer was “definitely much welcome”. “It definitely makes a huge impact on the debate,” the commissioner told a press conference on 28 February. E.ON’s decision “encourages us,” and “will be an encouragement for other companies to follow,” Piebalgs added in a veiled reference to EDF, the French electricity company which is fighting hard against the Commission’s ‘unbundling’ plans. However, regarding the EU executive’s proposed third liberalisation directive, Piebalgs stressed that it was the German government sitting at the negotiation table, not E.ON. “The German position has not changed, so we haven’t discussed it [at the Energy Council],” he said.Speaking after the energy ministers’ meeting, Jean-Louis Borloo, French minister for ecology and sustainable development, said he doubted that E.ON’s surprise offer would have an impact in France, where “the situation is different”. “Nobody has complained about unfair grid access here,” Borloo told reporters after the meeting.
Claude Turmes, a Green MEP who has steered the EU’s previous energy liberalisation proposals through the European Parliament, said E.ON’s pro-unbundling decision made German and French energy ministers look “ridiculous” before the Energy Council meeting. “This is a good day for EU energy consumers,” Turmes said. “Germany,
France and their dominant ‘national champions’ are now looking completely foolish,” he added. “I hope that is the end of the game ‘monopoly at home, monopoly abroad’ which German and French companies and their national political elites imposed during recent years on EU consumers,” Turmes said.
From Eur ActivAuthor : EMI