EU Guarantees “Zero Tolerance” for Violation of Energy Competition Rules – World


The European Commission guaranteed this Wednesday that it will have “zero tolerance” for practices that violate the competition rules of the European Union (EU) in the energy sector, being investigating alleged market manipulation and speculation in the licensing regime.

“To complement the action of the Member States, the EU will have a zero tolerance policy on any manipulation or speculation of the market”, declared the European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, at a press conference in Brussels, in the presentation of a communication on the escalation of electricity and gas prices.

Specifically, the supervisory commissioner revealed that Brussels is “investigating indications of any possible anti-competitive behavior in the energy market, in partnership with national competition authorities and energy regulators”.

Kadri Simson specified that such investigations are ongoing “as a matter of priority” and focus on “all allegations of possible anti-competitive business conduct by multiple participants”, this being “the normal procedure before an allegation”.

The aim is to “dispel concerns about possible speculation in the ETS market”, the EU’s emissions trading scheme, added the official.

The ETS is the EU’s carbon market, through which companies buy or receive emission allowances that authorize companies to produce an equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions within certain set limits that will progressively decrease over time .

Figures from Brussels reveal that, as of September this year, EU member states have raised €10.8 billion in additional revenue from the ETS, compared to the same period in 2020, an extra amount that Brussels wanted to see allocated to a fund to alleviate the bills of the most vulnerable consumers.

Asked if the investigations in question also cover companies outside the EU – such as the Russian energy giant Gazprom -, Kadri Simson reinforced: “We are looking into all issues relating to manipulation and speculation and anti-competitive activity if this happens in the markets European energy sources”.

In mid-September, a group of about 40 MEPs asked the European Commission to investigate Russian energy giant Gazprom, accusing it of cutting off gas supplies through Ukraine to pressure Germany to more quickly approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through from the Baltic Sea and leading to higher European prices.

Gazprom has denied any market manipulation, with Brussels having concluded in a preliminary assessment that Russia has “fulfilled its long-term contracts” on gas supplies to the EU.

But in addition to such inquiries about companies in the energy sector, “the Commission will ask the European Securities and Markets Authority [ESMA] to further improve the monitoring of the European carbon market”, the European commissioner told the press, noting that “the effect of the increase in the price of gas on the price of electricity is nine times greater than the effect of an increase in the price of gas. carbon”.

At issue is a communication released this Wednesday by the community executive that works as a “toolbox” to guide EU countries in the adoption of measures at the national level, at a time when the escalation of the value of electricity, as a result of the rise in the gas market and increased demand, it threatens to exacerbate energy poverty and make it harder to pay heating bills this fall and winter.

As part of this communication, the European Commission proposed to the Member States that they proceed with ‘vouchers’ or moratoriums to alleviate electricity bills, also suggesting an analysis of the “potential benefits” of a voluntary joint acquisition of gas reserves.


Source: Correio da Manhã by www.cmjornal.pt.

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