Thursday

2nd Feb 2023

EU launches anti-trust case against Gazprom

  • Gazprom could face a €10 billion anti-trust fine from the EU (Photo: qwertyuiop)

The EU has started legal action against Russian energy giant Gazprom, the bloc's competition chief said on Thursday (3 October).

Speaking at an event to mark European Competition Day in Lithuanian capital Vilnius, EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia confirmed that the EU executive had started to draw up a formal charge sheet against the firm.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He refused to speculate on the time frame of the case, which comes against a backdrop of increased tensions between Russia and the EU over Russian pressure on former Soviet states to eschew EU integration.

"It would be premature to anticipate when the next steps would be taken in this investigation, but we have now moved to the phase of preparing a statement of objections," he said.

But a statement published by the Lithuanian government the same day revealed that the commission would complete its work by spring 2014.

Almunia confirmed that the investigation covers Bulgaria, the Czech republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The development is a significant victory for Lithuania, whose complaint on alleged Gazprom price-gouging prompted the launch of the EU enquiry back in 2011.

The Baltic country has made EU energy policy in general key priority of its six month presidency of the EU.

Its Prime Minister, Algirdas Butkevicius, on Thursday described the EU move as being “of crucial importance” to his country.

The anti-Gazprom claims say it is abusing its dominant market position to demand extortionate prices for gas and preventing countries from diversifying their energy supply.

Lithuania says it pays 35 percent more than Germany for gas under its contract with Gazprom.

For its part, the energy giant has said that it has received no formal communication from the EU executive and has made no attempt to offer concessions in a bid to reach a settlement.

Under EU rules, Gazprom, whose turnover hit 4.76 trillion roubles (€109 billion) in 2012, could face a fine of up to 10 percent of their annual revenues.

The €1.1 billion fine levied on software giant Intel in 2009 is, as yet, the largest single antitrust fine imposed by the EU.

Russia to file WTO lawsuit against EU energy laws

Russia is to file its second formal complaint against the EU with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over the EU's so-called 'Third Energy Package,' according to reports on Wednesday.

Time for EU energy union, says Polish PM

The European Union must create an energy union to secure its supply and reduce its dependence on Russian gas, Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said.

Opinion

The EU and Gazprom

It is of the utmost importance that the European Commission counters the Russian gas empire with the rule of law.

EU lobby register still riddled with errors

The EU's lobby register remains riddled with errors, with pro-transparency campaigners demanding better data and mandatory rules. The latest findings come amid a raft of proposals by the European Parliament president to weed out corruption in the wake of Qatargate.

Column

Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?

Countries that were once democratising are now moving in the other direction — think of Turkey, Myanmar, Hungary or Tunisia. On the other hand, in autocracies mass mobilisation rarely succeeds in changing political institutions. Think of Belarus, Iran or Algeria.

Latest News

  1. EU green industry plan could spark 'dangerous subsidy race'
  2. Wolves should be defended, EU ministers urge
  3. EU Commission wants drones for Bulgaria on Turkey border
  4. MEPs rally ahead of vote for gig-economy workers' rights
  5. Europe is giving more aid to Ukraine than you think
  6. Hungary blames conspiracy for EU corruption rating
  7. Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?
  8. EU lobby register still riddled with errors

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us