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EU General Court Sides With Vestager In Gazprom Case

 |  February 2, 2022

The EU General Court sided with EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager in her big antitrust case into Gazprom, upholding her main 2018 decision to accept commitments from the Russian energy giant and not levy a fine, reported Reuters.

Following a challenge of that decision by Polish state-owned energy company PGNiG, the judges ruled that the European Commission’s decision did not contain any of the “procedural or substantive errors claimed by the applicant.”

In the 2018 decision, the Commission imposed legally binding commitments on Gazprom to address competition concerns identified in Gazprom’s practices in Central and Eastern European gas markets.

Related: Poland’s PGNiG urges tough stance in antitrust case vs Gazprom

Polish rival PGNiG, the Polish government, and some eastern European countries criticized the settlement for being too soft on Gazprom, contrasting it with hefty EU antitrust fines for US tech giant Google.

PGNiG challenged the settlement at the Luxembourg-based General Court and also asked the court to annul the Commission’s rejection of its complaint about Gazprom’s allegedly abusive practices.

“The General Court finds that the contested decision is not vitiated by any of the procedural or substantive errors raised by the applicant,” the court stated.

Judges dismissed, however, the Commission’s decision to rebuff PGNiG’s complaint against Gazprom, stating the Commission failed to respect the company’s procedural rights.

“The judgement of the General Court means the European Commission must re-examine PGNiG’s complaint,” PGNiG’s CEO Pawel Majewski wrote on Twitter.

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