The European Commission engages in discussion with Gazprom with the aim of finding solutions to the antitrust investigation, in which the company will not incur fines for breach of EU law.
BRUSSELS, 12 Oct. Maria Knyazeva. The European Commission began negotiations with Gazprom about the possibility of complete compromise of the antitrust investigation, in which the company will not be fined for violation of the legislation of the EU, said the European Commissioner for competition Margaret Vestager.
The EC in August 2012 initiated an investigation of a possible violation of the Gazprom antitrust laws of the European Union. 22 April 2015 the European Commission has adopted a statement of objections (Statement of Objections) within the framework of this investigation. The EC brought official charges the company for violations in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia. “Gazprom” reported that the EC has sent a formal response to the notice of claims and considers it necessary to continue consultations with the EC with regard to the company’s response.
“We received an official response to the statement of objections from Gazprom and study them. In parallel, we started discussions with Gazprom to draft proposals for commitments. Gazprom does not recognize (claims EC — ed), but we’re trying to understand whether there is a way to solve or we will continue to follow a more formal procedure,” said Vestager.
Earlier, the EC has announced that it has received from “Gazprom” the proposals for so-called obligations. The EC can conduct an antitrust investigation under article of the law providing for the possibility to impose on the company a fine for violation of competition rules of the European Union. But the EC alternative is to work on article that do not stipulate fines for breach of competition rules.
In the second way the Commission does not have to prove violations of EU antitrust rules and should not impose fines. However, the company, in respect of which an investigation is under way after the announcement by the European Commission of its concerns should submit proposals for problem resolution proposals for the obligations. The EC, after consultation with interested market participants can legitimize the proposals, and then the penalty will be imposed only in case of violation of these legal proposals.