Poland’s PGNiG: Gazprom antitrust settlement ‘highly insufficient’

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Polish state-run energy company PGNiG, which has previously threatened to take the European Commission to court if it did not impose a fine on Gazprom, said it judged Monday’s settlement with the Russian gas company to be “highly insufficient.”

Gazprom inched closer to resolving a European antitrust case without financial punishment on Monday, as Brussels decided to instead canvass opinion on the gas giant’s proposals to create a more competitive Central and Eastern European gas market.

“Our initial assessment shows that the commitments are insufficient to remove the negative impact of Gazprom competition breach in the CEE markets, including Polish market,” PGNiG chief executive Piotr Woźniak told the FT. “They may not make any significant contribution to change the situation that triggered the Commission action in 2012. We consider the Commission’s acceptance of those commitments as highly insufficient.”

Mr Wozniak said that PGNiG would “submit a detailed position providing minimum requirements to be imposed on Gazprom” over the course of the seven-week feedback window outlined by the Commission.

Brussels launched the antitrust investigation, among its largest, with dawn raids in 2011 and focused on the Russian company’s alleged anti-competitive behavior. Should the commission accept Gazprom’s remedies, the gas company will escape fines, an outcome that may upset CEE countries and Baltic states that have campaigned for a tough line in what is seen as a landmark case for newer member states.

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