Moscow. May 24. INTERFAX.RU – the European Commission has confirmed the closure of the Antimonopoly investigation against “Gazprom”, which lasted for several years, follows from the corresponding message on the website of the EC.
“Today, the European Commission announced that an antitrust investigation and settlement of claims of the Directorate for competition of the European Commission, put forward in the course of an investigation, it is found to be appropriate adjusted according to the results of the market test of the proposal of “Gazprom”. In this regard, the European Commission adopted a decision on the conclusion of the investigation and that will not take further action in connection with it,” – said “Gazprom”.
“We are pleased with the decision on the settlement of the antitrust investigation, which was announced by the European Commission. We always confirmed the intention to cooperate in good faith with the aim of finding a mutually acceptable solution within the framework of established procedures,” – are reported words of the Deputy Chairman of “Gazprom” Alexander Medvedev.
“We are convinced that today’s decision is the most acceptable outcome for the functioning of the European gas market as a whole. Gazprom has always complied with the applicable provisions of the competition law of the EU and reaffirms its commitment to comply with them in the future,” he added.
Member of the EC for competition, Margrethe Vestager announced on Wednesday that the European Commission’s decision to grant Gazprom a number of legally binding conditions for observance of the rules of free circulation of gas at competitive prices in the gas market in Central and Eastern Europe. “Today’s decision removes the obstacles created by Gazprom, which prevent the free movement of gas in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition, our solution establishes a set of rules for future behaviour “Gazprom” she said at a press conference in Brussels.
According to her, these rules require Gazprom “to take positive measures to enhance the integration of the gas markets in the region and contribute to the realization of a real internal energy market in Europe.” Under these conditions the Commission agrees to resolve the dispute without penalty.
“Today’s decision does not close the case. On the contrary, “Gazprom” should begin today to respect its commitments,” – said the Commissioner.
The Obligations Of “Gazprom”
Vestager has listed these commitments, published on Thursday by the European Commission. We are talking about the elimination of contractual barriers to the free movement of gas. Gazprom should abandon all restrictions that prevent its clients to resell outside the national borders of purchased gas.
The Russian company undertakes to facilitate gas flows in the direction of isolated markets of Central and Eastern Europe, but also from them; in particular, talking about the Baltic States and Bulgaria do not have sufficient structure interconnectio.
Needs to be run a structured process to guarantee the competitiveness of gas prices to match the prices applicable on the markets of Western Europe, in particular as regards platforms for liquefied natural gas.
Brussels expects from “Gazprom” to eliminate requirements arising from a dominant position on the market of gas supply.
The implementation of these commitments meet the concerns of the European Commission in the field of competition and in regard to its aims to ensure the free circulation of gas at competitive prices in Central and Eastern Europe, explained in Brussels.
“The Commission decided to make these commitments legally binding for Gazprom (in accordance with article 9 of regulation no 1/2003, the EU antitrust regulation”), reads the communiqué of the European Commission, released on Thursday in Brussels.
It also indicates that if “Gazprom” will neglect one of these obligations, the Commission may impose on him a fine in the amount up to 10% of its global turnover, “without having to prove the infringement of competition rules the EU.”
Antimonopoly business against “Gazprom”
As reported, the European Commission in 2012 initiated an investigation of its potential violations by Gazprom of the Antimonopoly legislation of the European Union, which in April 2015, the EC brought official Notice of claim (Statement of Objections).
The EC said there are three possible anti-competitive practices suspected Russian company: Gazprom may have divided gas markets by hindering the free flow of gas through the territory of the member States may hinder the diversification of gas supplies, and could set unfair prices for its clients, tying gas prices to oil prices”.
“Gazprom” September 28 2015 sent to the EC a written response to the Notice of claims under antitrust investigation of its activities in the EU countries, which pleaded not guilty on any of the items, but, according to the EC, undertook to clean the contracts all barriers to the free flow of gas to the markets of Central and Eastern Europe.
In mid-March 2017, the EC announced that it satisfied the obligations of “Gazprom”, but still wants to hear the opinion of customers – up to 4 may 2017. If the commitments are accepted, they will be for “Gazprom” legally binding. If the company violates these obligations, the Commission may impose a penalty of up to 10% of the global revenue of the company without having to prove that the company violated antitrust rules.
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