EU Commission targets states over energy markets
STRASBOURG, France, Apr 4 (Reuters) The European Union executive took legal action against 17 member states on Tuesday for failing to follow EU rules that aim to open the 25-nation bloc's gas and electricity markets to more competition.
The European Commission said Austria, Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Sweden and Slovakia would receive warnings for failing to properly adopt the EU rules. Spain would be warned for poor application.
''Member states must implement the directives on gas and electricity quickly and in full, not only in form but also in substance,'' Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said in a statement.
Some states were also criticised for failures relating to biofuels, oil stocks, and the use of renewable energy sources for electricity.
The EU is trying to create a better integrated gas and electricity market so consumers around the bloc can have more freedom to choose what company supplies their energy needs.
The union is also trying to develop a common policy for dealing with external suppliers such as Russia.
The EU started liberalising its energy markets over six years ago but in many countries huge former monopolies still dominate the gas and power business, keeping prices high and making it difficult for newcomers to gain a foothold.
Reuters MP RS1943