* Grossmann optimistic about chances of summit agreement
* Says EU must be clear about its goals
* First EU energy summit to be staged Feb. 4
BERLIN, Jan 13 (Reuters) - German utility group RWE (RWEG.DE) is confident European leaders will back plans to create a true internal power market at the upcoming EU energy summit in February, its chief executive said on Thursday.
“The EU first has to be clear about its goals, namely that there will be fewer countries acting unilaterally. So I am very optimistic,” Juergen Grossmann told reporters at an event sponsored by newspaper publisher Axel Springer (SPRGn.DE).
EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in November the narrow interests of national capitals had prevailed for too long, and invited European leaders to back his plan for unity at the first-ever EU energy summit on Feb. 4. [ID:nLDE6A829I]
Grossmann said consumers should not have to pay the price for governments propping up their national champions in the form of higher electricity bills.
“When you see the kind of actions taken by a centrally-led country like France, then there is not exactly an even playing field,” the RWE chief said.
“For example, when it sells half the power grid to another state-owned agency, it is reducing EDF’s (EDF.PA) debt, even though it already enjoys a very good credit rating, since the state backs it up.”
Before the EU starts drafting proposals to liberalise the energy market, Grossmann said it should ensure conditions are in place that were supposed to exist under previous decisions.
Germany is a power market that has largely been carved up into four different regions between the major utilities — RWE, E.ON EONG.DE, Vattenfall Europe [VATN.UL] and EnBW (EBKG.DE).
Its antitrust watchdog said on Thursday that competition in Germany’s wholesale electricity market leaves much to be desired and needs to be monitored more closely. [ID:nLDE70C0SY]
Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner; editing by David Hulmes