Electricity market liberalisation:
De Palacio challenges Monti's competition competencies
The European Commission will decide tomorrow on the wording of a non-binding declaration related to the establishment of a fund for nuclear decommissioning and waste management activities. Although the European Parliament and the Member States have NOT requested such a declaration, Mrs de Palacio is falsely claiming that the European Parliament will vote against the whole liberalisation directive next week in Strasbourg.
The issue behind the controversial declaration is whether nuclear industry - through its decommissioning funds and radioactive waste management policy - will be subject to a separate competition policy under the Euratom Treaty (Mrs de Palacio's political line) or whether it would fall under the same EC Treaty as the other sources of electricity production, with a view to ensuring an undistorted functioning of the internal market (Mr Monti's line).
Claude Turmes MEP (Greens - Luxembourg), and Parliament rapporteur on the electricity market liberalisation directive stated:
"European Competition Commissioner Monti has obviously taken the right line - as was recently confirmed by the fact that the Commission is planning to launch a proper investigation into the restructuring of British Energy under EU competition rules."
"What is now at stake is the future of the entire internal electricity market. If we want to have only ONE market then we need only ONE competition policy. We can not allow the creation of a single European energy market with two separate competition policies - one for nuclear energy and one for energy coming from all other production sources."
"Mrs De Palacio's attempts to seize competencies from Mr Monti on nuclear-related state aid and competition policies is a serious threat to the establishment of a level playing in the energy market. The direction that Mrs De Palacio and her French Director General Mr Lamoureux have chosen is odd to say the least. During final negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament on the liberalisation directives, Mr Lamoureux introduced a declaration that neither the Parliament nor the Commission had requested. This declaration was never discussed between the services and Mr. Monti is furthermore completely opposed to it."
"Regarding the decommissioning funds there are two elements which should not be confused. With extremely tenuous interpretation of Article 31, the Euratom treaty may have some competencies on the setting up of sufficient funds for the decommissioning of reactors and for radioactive waste management. But Euratom has NO competencies at all when it comes to competition policy. The EC treaties guarantee a single market and a single competition policy under DG Competition's scrutiny. Mrs De Palacio should not try to interfere with this."