British MP blames France and Germany for holding back EU energy liberalisation

Martin O’Neill, MP and chairman of the UK’s Trade and Industry Select Committee, today said that French and German politicians are holding back the development of a liberalised European energy market. In turn this will hamper development of a mature European-wide energy derivatives market, he said.

Many European politicians remain sceptical about the benefits of a liberalised energy market, but their fears are unfounded, O’Neill told delegates at an energy markets conference in London this morning. “France and Germany's blinkered myopia in their attitudes towards the development of a liberalised energy market is doing a disservice to industry and consumers across Europe,” O’Neill said. The UK, however, is in a strong position to take advantage of a liberalised market, O’Neill added, claiming that the two countries will prove to be “their own worst enemies” if they do not fully embrace market liberalisation.

Philippe Boulanger, director of France for Spanish utility Endesa, pointed out that some French politicians have unjustifiably used recent power blackouts in Europe as a reason for not supporting the liberalisation of energy markets.

Meanwhile, David Porter, chief executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, told delegates that political risk is currently the biggest obstacle to developing a mature European energy market.

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