The European Commission has lost patience with the failure of France and Luxembourg to open up their power markets to competition, and has taken legal action. Brussels gave them just two weeks – the minimum allowable – to justify their failure to deregulate.

Britain and Germany complained to the Commission that it is unfair for EdF to buy companies in their markets while their companies are excluded from France. Spain and Netherlands have threatened to block power imports from EdF. France said that it can’t complete its discussions on liberalisation before March 2000. Luxembourg has yet to produce a competition timetable.