Problems and Progress
Edited by Colin Robinson
European energy liberalisation 77 CHAIRMAN’S COMMENTS Philip Lowe Jorge Vasconcelos indicated towards the end of his chapter that we are living in one of the largest interconnected energy markets in the world. But at the beginning, he quite clearly pointed to the lack of progress in creating that market. In reality, every single competition authority in the European Union at present bases its competition assessment on a national market deﬁnition, despite the existence of the energy directives going in the direction of a single market. Why? Because the barriers to entry are still there, because we do not see, for example, interconnection being created in a time period which allows agreements, mergers and other transactions to take place without potential exploitation of consumers. Jorge emphasised very clearly that the liberalisation process in the EU is necessarily linked to market integration. If we do not get wider markets in the EU, then we will not get the vaunted beneﬁts of liberalisation. He rightly pointed out that of course we are doing this in an environment of law and politics, in which there is no power or capacity to impose a privatisation process. The liberalisation process in the EU has been completed in legal terms, respecting the possibility of public ownership of ﬁrms on the market, at whichever stage of the vertical chain they are. This has posed challenges which have partly been met, such as the capacity to combat critics who said that liberalisation of these markets was incompatible...
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