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— of recommendations proposed for endorsement by the Council under Article 99 EC40.

32.

For example, the review proposes that competition policy contribute to the Lisbon strategy objectives in the gas, electricity and financial services sector through the follow-up of sector inquiries launched in 200541. Competition policy is also considered to be a complementary instrument in connection with efforts to enhance efforts to ensure interoperability and standardisation in a timely manner. The review also mentions ‘competition rules’ among the policies where the EU can contribute specific expertise which could be beneficial to its key partners. This is strongly linked to the need to ensure fair competition and a level playing field internationally42.

2.

SECTOR DEVELOPMENTS

2.1.

Energy

33.

The final report on the sector inquiry into the European gas and electricity markets which was adopted on 10 January43 concluded that many energy markets (i) remain too highly concentrated; (ii) are characterised by a high degree of vertical integration (in particular in the form of insufficient unbundling of network and supply activities) as well as a lack of (iii) cross-border integration and cross-border competition and (iv) transparency.

34.

Drawing on these findings, the Commission put forward, on 19 September, a proposal for a third liberalisation package regarding the European electricity and gas markets44. It focuses in particular on (i) effective unbundling of transmission networks; (ii) strengthening the powers and independence of regulators; (iii) cooperation between regulators and (iv) cooperation among transmission system operators.

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42 43

44

See the Commission Recommendation of 11 December for a Council Recommendation on the 2008 update of the broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and the Community (COM(2007) 803 final). See the previously mentioned Objective 5 as well as Objective 8 concerning energy and climate change. See also the annex listing the EC-level measures concerning these objectives. See section 3.4 of the Strategic Report mentioned above. Communication from the Commission: Inquiry pursuant to Article 17 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 into the European gas and electricity sectors (Final Report), COM(2006) 851 final, and DG Competition report on energy sector inquiry, SEC(2006) 1724. This package includes the following proposals: proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2003/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2003 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity, COM(2007) 528; proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2003/55/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2003 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas, COM(2007) 529; proposal for a Regulation establishing an Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, COM(2007) 530; proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1228/2003 (electricity), COM(2007) 531; proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1775/2005 (gas), COM(2007) 532.

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