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In this edited work, European experts in the energy field provide perspectives on the principal issues raised by the liberalization of the electricity and natural-gas markets in the EU. The various analyses are collected under four headings. Part One - Competition - discusses how, even when the market is fully open, substantial impediments to competition remain, such as long-term contracts, refusal of access to essential infrastructures or lack of capacity in interconnectors. Contributors discuss these deadlocks and suggest possible breakthroughs. In Part Two - Transmission and Trading - experts deal with network access and pricing and energy trading. Third-party access to the network is a critical factor in ensuring a real liberalization of the market, but it raises complex technical, economic and legal issues. Liberalization has also stimulated new forms of energy trading, including physical contracts and purely financial tools. The legal and economic framework of these new forms of transactions is discussed. In Part Three - Environment and Consumer Protection - experts investigate the extent to which the liberalization process favours industrial interests and explore in what ways environmental and consumer concerns are (or could be) an integral part of liberalized energy policy. Finally, in National Experiences, contributors discuss different approaches taken by four Member States (Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands) in opening their energy markets.
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