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I guess the British ruling class has awoken to the fact they pissed the North Sea oil away and now they will have to buy in a "protectionist market."  

Meaning: they can no longer manipulate the oil market through financial instruments or the supply side.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 11:10:21 AM EST
For years, we've been told that ownership of production and distribution assets did not matter, so long as there were market mechanisms to ensure supply...

Continental importers went "yeah, yeah" and struck deals to make sure they had uninterrupted security of supply and as much diversification as possible. The Netherlands wisely put a cap on gas production to keep domestic reserves available for the future, and these countries made sure thay had big enough companies to dela with the monopoly sellers in Russia, Algeria or even Norway.

And now that North Sea gas is running out, who panicks at the first sign of a gas spat between Russia and Ukraine, vetoes the purchase of its gas distributor by Gazprom, yells that the evil continentals won't share their gas, and starts talking about network interconnection, single buyer policies in Europe and sharing of resources on a continent-wide basis? The importer newby, Tony B., that's who... and in his trail the clueless competition directorate at the European Commission.

(btw, it's a fact that the EU is by no means monolithic on that subject. The competition and energy directorate have basically been in open warfare in the past few years, with the industry directorate moving one way or another depending on how relative prices in open or not-so-open markets were mowing...)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 11:18:28 AM EST
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Of course this raises the question, how do we fix the competition directorate? Is there any pressure we can apply short term, or is it a matter of campaigning long term for MEP confirmation for these posts?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 11:20:48 AM EST
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Why does the competition directorate need fixing? It has operated to general satisfaction until the very recent spat of energy mergers and takeovers. I say fix the energy sector and leave the competition directorate alone.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 11:38:16 AM EST
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Actually, it's not so much the competition directorate that I meant, but the internal market one (McCreevy today), which is the one trying to "liberalise" various sectors.

The competition directorate should indeed be left alone, it's one of the pan-EU things that work the best, all things considered.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 11:43:15 AM EST
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Ah, ok.

Makes sense.

Internal market: "liberalize all".

Energy: "energy is strategic".

Industry: "whatever gives me the lowest price".

Competition: "monopoly is bad".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 11:48:31 AM EST
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McCreevy today, Bolkestein yesterday. Can't we get a non-ideological socialist economist like, say, Solbes, into the internal market directorate?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 11:50:01 AM EST
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if France did not put all its energy into getting France-compatible agriculture commissioner (and director General below him/her) and (for ag-related reasons) trade commissioner.

Give us a Pascal Lamy anytime... but Chirac vetoed him for stupid reasons.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 12:22:04 PM EST
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Well, you have to have priorities, do you not? </snark>

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 12:33:17 PM EST
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I'm sorry ok? We needed the bastard out of here and for some reason they decided to promote him out of the way. Damn, install one arrogant ideologue in an important Commission post and everyone gets annoyed.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 01:00:47 PM EST
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The MEPs already approve the composition of the Commission. They were able to hold up the Barroso commission until after the summer of 2004 by vetoing the Italian candidate over some "unfortunate" remarks he made.

If you want individual confirmation hearings, well, that would be interesting.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 11:44:54 AM EST
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I am all for interesting... Particularly if it can slow the positioning of neo-liberals into various posts by people like Blair and Aznar...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 02:06:02 PM EST
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who panicks at the first sign  of a gas spat between Russia and Ukraine?

lol

every Russian who's ever lurked there does know who. Jerry from Paris, that's who
Tony B just seconded

by lana on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 06:37:59 PM EST
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Good to see you are still reading us!

But let me ask you something: I can more or less understand why you think I am anti-Russian, but why on earth are you saying that I "panicked" on the Russian-Ukrainian spat when I explicitly wrote that there was nothing to worry about?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 7th, 2006 at 09:06:45 AM EST
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