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The Government approved Estonia’s positions on the commitments submitted by Gazprom

27. April 2017 - 20:36

Stenbock House, 27 April 2017 - The Government discussed and approved Estonia’s position on the commitments submitted by Gazprom concerning supply of gas to Central and Eastern European markets.

In 2015, the Commission sent a Statement of Objections in antitrust proceedings initiated against Gazprom. The Commission expressed its view that some of Gazprom’s business practices in Central and Eastern European gas markets constituted an abuse of a dominant position in breach of EU antitrust rules. In early 2016, Gazprom submitted its commitments in response to the Commission’s concerns. According to Gazprom, these commitments would address the Commission’s objections.

The Commission has launched a consultation on the Gazprom commitments and invites comments from all market participants.

Estonia considers that the competition proceedings should put an end to the abuse of a dominant position, followed by a fine imposed on Gazprom. Estonia considers that in this case the Gazprom’s commitments are not proportional to the extent of the infringement. In Estonia’s view, the measures in the commitments submitted by Gazprom are of a temporary nature and do not guarantee long term acceptable gas prices to consumers. The solution lies in the introduction of alternative sources of supply in the Baltic and Finnish markets. Therefore, the establishment of cross-border connections, such as the gas transmission system interconnections between Estonia and Finland and Poland and Lithuania, which are already being constructed, should continue.

Estonia considers that only the diversification of supply and free competition will guarantee acceptable prices for consumers and that no single supplier is in a position to control the market.

In the event that the Commission finds that Gazprom’s commitments are sufficient to address the competition concern in Central and Eastern European gas markets, these commitments should be supplemented so as to remove the effects of the abuse of a dominant position and ensure that such situations are prevented in the future.