EU scraps compulsory division of energy firms: time to drop sale of publicly-owned utilities

26 March 2009

EU scraps compulsory division of energy firms: time to drop sale of publicly-owned utilities

The European Union has decided that energy corporations need not be broken up. SP Member of Parliament Paulus Jansen is therefore urging Economics Minister Maria Van der Hoeven to call a halt to the sale of publicly-owned energy firms Essent en NUON. On an initiative from the SP, Parliament today decided to schedule the affair for debate at the earliest opportunity.

Paulus Jansen“It turns out that once again the Netherlands has gone too far too fast," Paulus Jansen says. "We have broken up our publicly-owned energy firms into bite-sized pieces ready to be gobbled up by giant foreign corporations. Van der Hoeven must seize upon this EU decision in order to prevent the sale of these firms to RWE and Vattenfall.” RWE and Vattenfall are German utilities.

The EU decision means that it is no longer obligatory to split energy corporations into two separate concerns, one for energy per se and one for the accompanying infrastructure. The Netherlands had, however, ahead of the completion of the decision-making process of the European institutions, decided that that is precisely what it must do. “The EU has now pulled back and here in the Netherlands we're left holding the baby. RWE and Vattenfall are no longer obliged to split one from the other and are going to pick up our gas and light for a song.”

Parliament decided last year that the energy firms should not be sold to foreign firms which had not been split in the way that it was anticipated, wrongly as it turns out, would be required by the EU. "This threatens now to be exactly what's going to happen," Jansen says, "so it's time to intervene."

The SP launched a campaign some weeks ago against the sale of the two publicly-owned energy firms, NUON and Essent.

You are here