European commission urges that investigation targets Gazprom, not Russia
BRUSSELS, September 11 - RAPSI. The European Commission states that the antimonopoly investigation launched against Gazprom's activity in a number of EU countries does not concern Russia, only the company's business dealings.
"This investigation is not targeted on Russia. It only deals with Gazprom's actions on the EU market. Like any business working on the single European market, Gazprom has to follow the European Union's competition rules," European Commission Spokesperson Antoine Colombani told journalists on Monday.
The European Commission has opened an investigation into Gazprom's alleged breach of EU antitrust legislation, the commission reported earlier.
The Commission's statement reads that it will investigate three possible anti-competition law violations in Central and Eastern Europe: impeding the free flow of gas across EU member states, preventing countries from diversifying their source of gas supply and imposing unfair prices on its customers by linking the price of natural gas to the price of oil.
The statement emphasizes that the case will be a high priority, but that this does not mean that any decisions have been predetermined.
The EU is concerned that Gazprom is in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functions of the European Union which defines the use of market domination to influence trade between EU member countries.
Experts believe that the European Commission is trying to control the market and hoping to make Gazprom shift from contract gas to spot gas supply. Gazprom believes that these new claims have been raised because it is the main supplier of pipeline gas to Europe.
Gazprom said that it follows the rules of the countries with which it works and counts on the objectivity of the European Commission's antimonopoly investigation. Vladimir Markov, Gazprom board member, said that the company's stake on the European market is less than 33 percent and so it cannot be considered a monopoly.