Coalition divided on Essent sale: media

The proposed takeover of Dutch energy concern Essent by Germany’s RWE has caused a clash between the two major parties in the Dutch coalition government, according to press reports on Wednesday.

Labour is quoted as saying the deal is ‘premature and unwise’ in the Financieele Dagblad while the Christian Democrats (CDA) have little problem with the takeover plans.
An emergency parliamentary debate on the issue has been called for by the opposition Socialist Party and this will take place tonight with the ministers for economic affairs and finance.
Labour energy spokesman Diederik Samsom tells the press that he cannot understand how there can be an offer for Essent when plans to split off the utility’s grid has not yet been given approval by the government or competition authority.
He is also against the choice of RWE on environmental grounds pointing out that the company focuses on coal-fired and nuclear power plants which his party does not consider green.
Samsom says too that he would prefer Essent to find a strategic partner rather than be taken over.
The CDA spokesman Jos Hessels is less concerned about the takeover and expects RWE, like Essent, to place its high voltage grids into a separate company as soon as the expected European directive on this issue is implemented.
Nuclear power
And unlike some parties, the CDA does not have a problem with the fact that RWE will also become 50% owner of Holland’s Borssele nuclear power plant, Hessels tells the Financieele Dagblad.
‘RWE itself has five nuclear power stations so it has lots of expertise. This means they could place a second nuclear power plant next to Borssele. This could be necessary in the future and the CDA considers nuclear power to be green,’ he said.
The Dutch press and politicians are also speculating whether the local governments that own Essent will be able to spend the cash they receive from the sale of Essent wisely. But a suggestion that the money should be passed on to the state has been dismissed.

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