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French utilities on the road to reform

In terms of the French government’s bill to reform Electricite de France and Gaz de France, the two utilities will be transformed into corporations, with the state maintaining control of 70% of both organisations.

The bill provides for employees to retain their current job status and retirement benefits, and the government has agreed that prices of both electricity and gas will remain stable. These concessions were granted after mass protests against the privatisation of the two utilities. However, the power sector in France has come under increasing pressure from the European Union to open its markets to competition, and other EU countries have welcomed the move to partial privatisation.