Sunday

28th May 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Schulz fails to beat Merkel in German home state

Former EU parliament leader, Martin Schulz, says the defeat of his social-democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia is "difficult". The elections showed that a "Schulz effect" does not (yet) exist.

Austria heading for snap elections

Foreign minister Kurz has taken leadership of the conservative party in what could lead to an alliance with the far-right.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms