2nd Feb 2023

EU weakens 'Gazprom clause' on foreign energy investors

EU ministers have dismissed the idea of building a robust shield to protect the union's energy market from foreign buyers such as Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom.

According to an agreement reached on Friday (10 October), each EU member state will remain free to decide whether to allow foreign bidders entering their market. However, in doing so, they should take into account the union's energy security, while also consulting the European Commission.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • The result is a victory for Germany, which imports 40 percent of its gas from Russia (Photo:

The result is a victory for Germany, which imports 40 percent of its gas from Russia. Berlin secured enough support among ministers to alter a European Commission-sponsored safeguard, known as the "Gazprom clause."

The EU's executive body suggested last year that foreign bidders would be prevented from expanding in the 27-nation energy market without limit.

Instead, they would be obliged to follow the same unbundling requirements as the union's own firms, while an investor's home country should be equally open to EU investments.

The Gazprom clause was linked to plans to separate production and transmission channels in the EU's energy firms, while trying to alleviate fears of those member states who said a forced break-up of assets ran a risk of EU companies falling under the control of foreign firms.

In a separate deal, the Netherlands secured strengthened protection for its own energy sector as well as sectors in Denmark, Sweden and the UK vis-a-vis competitors from those EU states reluctant to further liberalise their market.

Eight EU states - led by Germany and France - refuse to take the path of so-called full ownership unbundling, in which a parent company sells its transmission networks to a different firm.

Instead, they are set to follow a softer line, in which a parent company retains ownership of transmission networks, but owned by the same set of shareholders and heavily supervised by a national regulator.

Signs of tension after EU move on Gazprom

The European Commission says its probe into suspected price-fixing by Gazprom has nothing to do with EU-Russia relations. But Gazprom says it does.

Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk

Draft legislation in Poland aimed at relaxing some of Europe's strictest laws surrounding onshore wind-turbines has been derailed by a surprise last minute amendment, which could put Poland back on a collision course with the EU.


More money, more problems in EU answer to US green subsidies

Industrial energy-intense sectors, outside Germany and France, will not move to the US. They will go bust, as they cannot compete in a fragmented single market. So to save industry in two member states, we will kill the rest?

Latest News

  1. EU green industry plan could spark 'dangerous subsidy race'
  2. Wolves should be defended, EU ministers urge
  3. EU Commission wants drones for Bulgaria on Turkey border
  4. MEPs rally ahead of vote for gig-economy workers' rights
  5. Europe is giving more aid to Ukraine than you think
  6. Hungary blames conspiracy for EU corruption rating
  7. Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?
  8. EU lobby register still riddled with errors

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us