EU gets cool reception from Russia on its energy deregulation plan

International Herald Tribune
The Associated Press
Published: October 23, 2007

BRUSSELS, Belgium: The EU said Tuesday it got a cool reception when it briefed Russian officials on an energy deregulation plan that would force Moscow’s state-owned Gazprom to shed its stakes in EU energy interests.

“The EU side explained what its internal market plan for energy is all about,” said an EU official. “The Russians were not jumping with joy,” added the official, who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

At the meeting in Moscow, EU officials explained their energy deregulation plan, which aims to boost competition and investment.

To achieve that, the European Commission wants European energy producers to shed their power grids and gas pipelines. It proposed the same for foreign energy companies wishing to enter EU gas and electricity markets, a step aimed at Gazprom.

The Russian monopoly supplies 25 percent of the EU’s gas needs and has stakes in EU energy businesses in half a dozen EU nations that it may have to give up.