Brussels (dpa) – The European Commission is threatening the Russian energy giant Gazprom for unfair business practices in Eastern Europe with a billion fine. Gazprom had sealed off the gas markets in eight Eastern European countries and pushed prices high, is the charge of EU authority.
Brussels threatens Gazprom with EU antitrust fine of up to ten percent of annual sales, so currently around 6.9 billion euros. The Commission sent claims to the formal complaint to Moscow.
The case also has a political dimension, since many EU countries are dependent on the energy supply of Russian gas and there and on this point tensions between the EU Russia is. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called in a radio interview the antitrust violation of the partnership agreement between Moscow and Brussels in 1999. The Russian gas monopoly itself rejected the allegations. The allegations were unfounded, said the state company
According to the European Commission considers Gazprom in eight EU countries -. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia – competition Disabled in the markets. “I am concerned that Gazprom violated EU antitrust rules,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said. All companies that are active in the European market would have to comply with EU regulations. Gazprom has now twelve weeks time to comment.
The Authority raises Gazprom claims to have banned wholesalers and customers to resell the purchased natural gas to other countries. These export bans Gazprom had in five countries may require excessive prices – and the end user. In addition, the Russian company had done its gas supply to Bulgaria and Poland investment in its own pipeline project dependent
Commissioner Vestager said. “Natural gas is an important raw material in daily life: We use it for heating, for cooking and for power generation. The healthy competition on the European gas markets is therefore of the utmost importance. “
The letter is a new stage in the progress for more than two years, methods, but says nothing about the result. “The next steps are open,” said Vestager. One could find with the Russian company also concessions agreement. Gazprom itself stressed: “This does not mean that Gazprom has made the breach of EU antitrust guilty.” The company abiding by the laws of each EU country and use similar pricing models as other companies.
Since 2012, the EU Commission is investigating the business practices of Gazprom and had to search the offices of natural gas companies in several EU countries leave. The concessions of the group ranged Brussels is not sufficient, especially since the talks were on hold since the Ukraine crisis.
According to media reports, the investigators examined at that time also targeted in the German energy companies RWE and Eon Ruhrgas after gas supply their medium- and Eastern European subsidiaries. There, it was quite common in the past that the state-owned company Gazprom have dictated problematic conditions in the contracts. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller had then called the action a “unpleasant surprise”.
Just last week, the European Commission against Google had happened. Brussels accuses the US group disability before the competition and threatens with a penalty of up to 6.6 billion euros. Also supports for the Google business model in Europe are possible. The search engine giant is in the hit lists own services – such as price comparisons for online shopping – prefer artificial. Last Wednesday, the agency sent the objections to Google. The decision should also fall in a year.