UK pushes common European energy policy

UK energy minister Malcolm Wicks will today press for more progress in the development of a European Union energy policy, and will ask member states to do more to open up their energy markets.


UK energy minister Malcolm Wicks will today press for more progress in the development of a European Union energy policy, and will ask member states to do more to open up their energy markets, in a speech to the Friends of Europe think tank in Brussels. His move comes as a new report suggests that the UK’s electricity and gas markets are the most liberalised of the EU and G7 states.



The report – Energy Market Competitiveness Rankings for the EU and G7 by Oxford Economic Research Associates (OXERA) – gives the UK high marks for the liberalisation of its energy markets, and gives it the highest score for competitiveness, at 9.2 out of 10. Finland is in second place with 8.6 and Germany is sixth with 7.4.



The UK has kept the top spot since the study began in 2002 and the report’s data suggests the UK is likely to remain in first place throughout this decade.



Commenting ahead of his speech, Malcolm Wicks said: ‘Britain has led the way in opening up its energy market and in encouraging other members to do likewise. As this OXERA report demonstrates, the UK is the most liberalised in the EU and G7. To meet the formidable challenges of increasing European competitiveness, securing our supply and fighting climate change it is essential that a common European energy policy is developed.’



However, Wicks also acknowledged there may be need for greater regulation in some areas. ‘As we found out last week, serious power shortages across mainland Europe can and do happen. Single markets here undermine our free market messages to developing countries and the Stern report left no doubt that action to reduce emissions is needed now rather than later. I expect the Commission’s Strategic Energy Review early next year to consider these issues closely.’