SPAIN CRITICISED OVER ENERGY DEAL

The European Court of Justice criticised Spain last week for trying to obstruct a German takeover of Spanish energy firm Endesa. The court ruled that Spain broke competition rules by ignoring an order to remove conditions placed on Eon’s bid. Eon made its 42.5bn euro bid in February 2006 and it was approved by the European Commission. The Spanish energy regulator placed 19 conditions on Eon’s 2006 offer and ignored a deadline to remove them. The conditions included the sale of power stations and the right for Spanish regulators to intervene on the behalf of consumers over electricity bills. Eon eventually dropped its bid in April 2007. A spokesman for European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “We expect Spain and all member states to take note of this ruling and respect community law.” When asked what he thought of the ruling, Economy Minister Pedro Solbes said: “The current regulations of the European Commission are contradictory and complex.”

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