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Ukraine’s government asks competition body to start Gazprom antitrust probe — PM

April 22, 2015, 19:05 UTC+3 KIEV
Gazprom was earlier accused of raising barriers to competition on EU gas supply markets, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, and unfair gas pricing
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Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

©  ITAR-TASS/EPAFILIP SINGER

KIEV, April 22. /TASS/. The Ukrainian government has turned to the country’s competition watchdog to start an antitrust probe against Russia's gas giant Gazprom, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Wednesday.

"The Russian company is acting on discriminatory and actually uncompetitive terms and inflicting damage on the Ukrainian economy," the government’s press office quoted Yatsenyuk as saying.

The Ukrainian premier said he had just "finished studying materials on this issue submitted by the Justice Ministry, the Energy and Coal Ministry and the Anti-Monopoly Committee of Ukraine."

"We’re also turning to our European Union partners to jointly hold this investigation and establish the fact of Russian company OAO Gazprom’s monopoly not only in the European Union but also in Ukraine," the government’s press office quoted Yatsenyuk as saying.

The Ukrainian premier’s statement comes at a time when the European Commission is expected to announce the results of its antitrust probe into Gazprom’s operations on the European gas market.

Gazprom is charged with raising barriers to competition on EU gas supply markets, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, and unfair gas pricing.

Gazprom important for Europe

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said on Wednesday Gazprom is extremely important for Europe but there is a problem with the company’s certain commercial practices.

"Gazprom is a large, highly professional company, which is extremely important for Europe. The European Commission does not have a problem with Gazprom as a company but the European Commission has a problem with some of its commercial practices on the European gas market. They should be discussed," she said.

Russia’s foreign minister believes EU, Gazprom will be able to come to agreement

The European Union and Gazprom will be able to come to terms as new gas projects meet Europe’s interests, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

The Russian foreign minister replied to a question about how he perceived the future relations between the EU and Gazprom.

"We’re participating in the defense of Gazprom’s interests and actively advancing our arguments," the minister said.

"The argument is simple: all the contracts, which Gazprom signed with its partners, were concluded in full compliance with the legal regime that existed in the EU at that time. When the Third Energy Package was adopted in the European Union, attempts were made to apply these requirements retroactively to the old contracts as well. This is absolutely inadmissible," the Russian foreign minister said.

Lavrov said he was confident that agreement between the EU and Gazprom would be reached.

"I’m confident that new projects that are being discussed, first of all, the so-called Turkish Stream project, are in Europe’s interests," the Russian foreign minister said.

The Russian energy giant produces, transports and sells natural gas to European consumers while the EU’s Third Energy Package requires the separation of gas production, transportation and sale to prevent gas suppliers from dominating the infrastructure.

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