Monday

29th Aug 2016

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic CouncilNordic-Baltic co-operation vital in turbulent times
  2. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  3. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  4. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  5. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  6. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  7. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  8. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  9. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  10. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  11. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  12. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!