BRUSSELS, September 6 (Itar-Tass) — The European Commission anti-monopoly investigation against Gazprom was conditioned by the policy of EU countries that try to nationalise pipelines, Russian permanent representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said.
In an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass on Wednesday, Chizhov said, “This decision is mainly conditioned by the policy of certain EU countries. Moreover, the Lithuanian government made ‘a grateful statement’ in this aspect.”
On September 5, Vilnius lauded the beginning of the investigation against Gazprom. According to the Lithuanian prime minister, “the EC decision can radically change the situation on the European gas market and Gazprom’s behaviour in our region [the Baltic region] and all round Eastern Europe.” In January 2011 Lithuania complained to the European Commission of “Gazprom abuse” on the gas market. The EC does not hide that this document became one of the formal pretexts for launching the investigation.
To this end, Chizhov stressed that Lithuania is the country, which “chose the severest form to use the EU third energy package on its territory”. The document envisages dividing owners of the transport energy infrastructure and capacities to produce energy and energy resources. “In fact Vilnius has started preventive nationalisation. It tries to seize ‘the pipeline’ which also belongs to Gazprom and the joint venture, involving Gazprom and German partners,” the Russian permanent representative to the EU stressed.
He declined to comment on possible prospects for the investigation. However, he noted that till now “neither Russian authorities nor the Russian permanent mission at the EU gave any information on the investigation”. Earlier, the EC said this investigation “has no relation to Russia as the state. It has relation to Russia’s Gazprom”.
“I intend to give necessary explanations next week when I’m planning to meet European Commission deputy head Joaquin Almunia, who is in charge of the EC anti-monopoly department,” Chizhov pointed out.
On September 4, the European Commission announced the anti-monopoly investigation of the Gazprom activity in East and Central European countries. The EC intends to check contracts and the activities on the gas markets in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary.
According to Itar-Tass reports, the European Commission will study the countries where two thirds of gas supplies account on the Russian company. In compliance with European legislation penalty duties can reach 10 percent of the company’s annual income.