Battle may be about to be joined. EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes is back in the news. She made a speech yesterday, and in that speech she suggested that the golden days of the EUs unreformed energy giants may be numbered, as the European Commission is considering launching an onslaught on monopolistic energy utilities and the politicians who protect them (and here). According to The Economist Angela Merkel has recently gone for a policy of “underpromise and overdeliver”, so I do hope she has taken a leaf out of Merkel’s book, and that this won’t be yet another example of ‘overpromise and underdeliver’. The stakes, as I was suggesting yesterday, are really quite high.
Kroes principle objective seems to be those companies that control both the supply and distribution of energy, and in so doing effectively block their rivals from entering the market. But in taking on these companies she will also need to take on the political networks that support them. As Euractiv (which incidentally has a useful dossier on the energy topic) puts it “The EU considers common energy policy amid national sovereignty concerns”. My question is, just who is it who has so much vested interest in this national sovereignty idea? Can it be simply a coincidence that Kroes hails from the Netherlands, one of the smaller EU member states? Oh well, one more time onwards and upwards to the coalition of the willing.