Putin: Russia hopes for a quick resolution of EC Gazprom investigation
SOCHI, September 12 - RAPSI. Russia hopes that the European Commission's Gazprom investigation will be cleared up as soon as possible and that cooperation will continue, President Vladimir Putin said.
"I would like to see any issues that remain unclear to the European Commission be resolved as soon as possible so we can work together in a good atmosphere," Vladimir Putin said at a press conference following his meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic.
On September 4, the European Commission opened an investigation against Gazprom based on allegations that it had breached EU antitrust legislation.
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.
Analysts believe the European Commission is trying to regain some control of the market by having Gazprom shift from contracted gas volumes to a spot gas supply agreement. Gazprom believes that the claims have been raised because it is the dominant supplier of pipeline gas to Europe.
Gazprom has said that it follows the rules of the countries with which it deals and is counting on the objectivity of the European Commission's antimonopoly investigation. Vladimir Markov, Gazprom board member, said that the company's market share in Europe is less than 33 percent and so cannot be considered a monopoly.
Previously, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he is disappointed by the European Commission's antitrust investigation but that he does not believe a "trade war" has been declared.