The European Commission (EC) has sufficient arguments to immediately launch begin proceedings against the Russian gas giant Gazprom, said on the air of Polskie Radio Polish Minister of Climate and Environment, Anna Moskwa.
"We strongly ask for an immediate antitrust investigation against Gazprom," she said.
"I will soon meet with the European Commissioner [for Energy] and will defend this position. In our opinion, there are legal arguments that already now allow us to launch this investigation," the minister added.
According to her, Gazprom has been abusing its position in the European gas market. "This [the investigation] may lead to penalties, it may lead to reviewing existing agreements between Gazprom and European countries," she said.
"There are a lot of tools for the antimonopoly investigation," Moskwa added. "The EC is perfectly good at doing this, it has launched such a procedure many times."
"It is not clear to us why now the EC does not see preconditions for launching such an investigation. We see them and will show them, prove them and persuade the EC to react," the minister said, adding that Poland had submitted additional materials on this case to the EC in December. "Hopefully there will be enough of them," she said.
This year, the European Union has faced a significant increase in gas prices, which lead to a serious increase in the cost of electricity, putting pressure on the economy and consumers.
On September 17, a group of about 40 members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the EC calling for an investigation into the price increases in accordance with the EU antitrust rules. According to them, Gazprom’s actions led to a record rise in gas prices in Europe. The EC confirmed that it had received the letter but said that it believed the record increase in gas prices was due to objective factors. Later it was decided that the EC would conduct an audit of European gas markets and carbon quotas for unjustified speculation.
At the same time, the European Commission stated that the prices for gas are cyclical, set by the global market, and one of the reasons for the jump is the recovery of the world economy. Gazprom, the main supplier of gas to the European Union, fulfilled its contracts, the EC noted.
On October 13, during the plenary session of the Russian Energy Week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the statements about Russia's use of energy as a weapon are politically motivated. He pointed out that "even in the most difficult periods of the Cold War, the Russian Federation always fully fulfilled its contractual obligations while supplying gas to Europe."