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Why does the once combative commission appear to be abandoning the consumer and siding with big business? Plus, Spain sides with Russia over the new plan for Kosovo

By Manneken Pis   March 2007

Barroso loses his bottle

Has the European commission lost its nerve? Last year its rhetoric was fiery and populist as it promised to deliver “results” for the consumer. Mobile phone operators, banks and even sun lotion-makers were in its sights, as were the big member states that failed to open electricity and gas to competition. But 2007 has found José Manuel Barroso, the commission president, in a mellower mood. His much-trumpeted energy paper allowed governments a whopping get-out from full-scale liberalisation of the sector. While full “unbundling” of energy companies is one possibility, a less radical option would allow the…

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