European competition policy-(08.09.02)

Does a European competition policy really exist? Germany has recently approved the energy merger of Eon & Ruhrgas, but it appears that other EU governments and their regulators are trying to object on the grounds that this merger will make entry into the German gas market almost impossible.

The fact is that German competition authorities can approve a merger between German companies, leaving the EU to try to impact this after the event. Germany can ignore a request from the European Commission as 2/3rds of the sales of the merged company would be in Germany.

However a single European energy market requires network access to individual country markets and for cross border transmission. France too has been slow to open up its networks to competition, but Germany's approval of this merger is based on domestic needs rather than any conideration of a European energy market.