Utilities Law Review - Volume 20 - Issue 3

Special Powers of the Italian Government in Defence, Homeland Security, Communications, Energy and Transportation
Raffaele Giarda and Antonio Lattanzio
Baker & McKenzie, Rome

The Special Powers were originally introduced in the mid-1990s so as to allow the Italian state to maintain a certain level of control - at the time known as 'golden share' - over those Italian strategic corporations that were being sold by the state as part of the privatisation process. The legal framework has now been reformed through a legislative path that has endowed the Italian Prime Minister with the power to block or impose conditions only in case of transactions entailing the threat of serious harm to the essential interests of national defence and homeland security or to the functioning security and procurement of strategic networks, equipment and plants in the communications, energy, and transportation sectors. The main features of the Special Powers are set forth by Law Decree No 21 dated 15 March 2012 (as converted into Law No 56 dated 11 May 2012) and are further outlined in the implementing regulations which are discussed in the article. The result is a set of principles and rules which now provide further certainty for investments in strategic assets in the defence and homeland security space as well as in the communications, energy, and transportation industries.

Free Movement of Capital, the Right of Establishment and Ownership Restrictions on Investment in Respect of District Heating Utilities in Denmark
Thomas Andersen Thrane
Legal Advisor at E.ON in Denmark

In spite of a 1999 Danish heating sector reform that was a consequence of the liberalisation of the electricity and gas sectors, no substantial direct investment has been made in utilities by operators other than the incumbent Danish district heating businesses. The background is a regulatory doctrine of keeping heat utilities in national hands, enshrined in the Danish Heating Supply Act, sections 23F, G and H. These provisions essentially impose restrictions on investment and ownership unless the owner of the utility is a Danish co-operative company or a Danish municipal authority. The provisions bring to the fore the rules of free movement of capital and freedom of establishment that have been in force since Denmark joined the European Community in 1973, and which continue to apply to utilities in the energy sector. The article provides a brief overview of EU law as a focal lens to the content, context and validity of the restrictions on investing in and owning heating utilities in Denmark.

Case Comment
David Mifsud and Stephanie Mifsud v MaltaPost plc
Paul Edgar Micallef
Malta Communication Authority

The Court of Appeal (Inferior) upheld the decision against MaltaPost plc whereby MaltaPost were held responsible for the loss of an item sent by registered mail and ordered to pay the full price of the item in question. The court did not uphold MaltaPost's argument that it should not be held responsible since the loss occurred while the item was in the care of sub-contractor: the plaintiff 's relationship was with MaltaPost and, moreover, MaltaPost had acted in a negligent manner.