After Sweden and Denmark's power cut last week, some observers highlighted the growing call for state protectionism to safeguard home markets. With Italy's accusations focused on France and Switzerland, where the power failure originated, the call for self-sufficiency and national protectionism will grow.
France and Switzerland supply Italy with the bulk of its imported electricity across their borders. At 3.30am on the Sunday morning of the blackout, Italy was importing around a third of its electricity requirements - a higher proportion than during a typical day, as import prices are lower at night.
Etrans, the coordinator of the Swiss high tension network, said it had alerted the Italians about a downed line and told them to increase their own production to compensate, but said the Italians reacted too slowly, meaning other lines from France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia got overloaded and eventually disconnected.
Accusations as to who is to blame have already begun. The Italian Industry Minister, Antonio Marzano, has had to defend his government's position against the center-left opposition's claim that the blackout was the result of having no clear energy policy, under investment and a lack of direction and planning in the sector. Meanwhile, Mr Marzano has sought to deflect these accusations back across the border and is blaming France.
It seems that all stakeholders involved in meeting domestic energy needs - governments, companies and regulators alike - are reluctant to take the blame for the blackouts. Nevertheless, each group needs to work at a level of interdependence and cooperation.
Almost a fifth of Italy's electricity is imported to meet its growing demand, compared with a Europe-wide average of 2%. Environmental opposition to building new nuclear power plants means Italy has become more and more dependent on power imports.
Some observers say that the problem stems from free market and liberalization issues, arguing that energy companies after profit are reducing the priority of new plant builds or network investment because of the associated cost and the elongated ROI.
Italy's move towards a fully liberalized electricity market and a further tranche sale of the public electricity giant Enel [EN] may now be in question as politicians across Europe use this latest round of the energy debate to score domestic political points and increase the call for national protectionism.