GERMANY: Berlin opposes European Union directive restricting invest in energy sector

Germany opposes a European Commission energy directive that restricts investment by third countries in the European Union’s energy sector and requires the separation of production and transportation at the ownership level, German Economy and Technology Minister Michael Glos told Interfax.

“We are skeptical regarding the European Union Commission’s proposals banning investment in the transportation network by third countries. In Germany the door to foreign investment is wide open,” Glos said.

“Of course, there must be rules that can be used in isolated cases to battle investments pursuing non-economic goals. However those rules should apply to all sectors,” Glos agreed.

At the same time he expressed support for the European Commission’s goal of strengthening integration and competition on the market in electricity and gas.

“However, important points of this packet of documents are still not sufficiently convincing. For example, we are not convinced that the separation of ownership of the transport network is a suitable engine for the development of dynamic competition,” Glos said. “There is not convincing evidence that such a separation at the ownership level is capable of producing growth in investment, reduced prices and a de-monopolized market. Disproportionate interference in private ownership is also associated with that,” he said.
Glos was in Moscow to participate in the ceremony of opening the German-Russian foreign trade chamber on December 14.

“That event alone is confirmation of the dynamically developing relations with Russia. After the record turnover of 53.5 billion euro in 2006, German exports to Russia rose 33% in the first eight months this year. Delivery of investment goods to Russia increased by leaps and bounds,” he said.

“The cars, machinery and equipment delivered from Germany are an important factor in the modernization and diversification of almost all areas of the Russian economy, including those other than the oil and gas sector,” Glos said.

Concerning the route of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, Glos said: “There has not been a final decision on which route across the Baltic sea bed will be chosen. It follows that the just (environmental) interests of the countries in the Baltic area must be fully taken into account.”

The Nord Stream gas pipeline is a private economic project on a European scale. Economic and, to a significant degree, environmental considerations will affect the construction of the pipeline and associated work along its route,” he said.

The environmental protection issue has prompted the participating companies to examine several alternative pipeline routes, he said.

Glos also said it would be desirable for new representations of German car manufacturers to be opened in Russia. “The German federal government welcomes the activity of Volkswagen in Russia – a promising sales market for the entire German automobile industry. Opening new divisions of German firms in Russia, including in the automobile and auxiliary industries, would be desirable,” he said.

However, he said, the decision on operations abroad is made by the companies themselves. “The federal government has absolutely no influence on that,” Glos said.

Read more | Digg story

No comments: