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    European Commission Antitrust Case Against Gazprom Unmotivated by Politics

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    The European Commission’s antitrust case against Russia’s gas giant Gazprom is fundamentally an issue of European law, not politics, experts told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The European Commission plans to file charges against Gazprom on April 22 for allegedly abusing its dominance and preventing competitors from entering the European gas market, according to reports.

    “You can’t totally separate law from politics,” former US ambassador to the European Union Richard Morningstar told Sputnik on Monday. “Having said that, I think European law is clear and it is important that the European Union apply to everybody its law and regulations.”

    The former Ambassador noted that by following EU antitrust laws, “Gazprom can be like any other supplier.”

    The lawsuit is about more “than just getting the prices down from the Russians,” Morningstar argued.

    Professor Alan Riley, a leading competition law scholar in at the City University in London, told Sputnik that “on the technical level,” the EU antitrust suit against Gazprom “is not political.”

    However, Riley argued, whatever the outcome of the case, “a legal decision has political impact.”

    Gazprom still has the option of challenging the European Commission in front of the European courts, he added.

    Gazprom could be forced to pay fines, damages, and sell its energy infrastructure to competitors if it cannot refute the charges or settles the lawsuit, Riley said.

    Europe is 30 percent dependent on Russian energy exports, according to European Commission statistics.

    Russia’s state-owned Gazprom is the world's largest natural gas producer, accounting for up to 14 percent of global natural gas production.

    The European Commission recently launched a different antitrust case against the US internet giant Google for allegedly abusing its market dominance.

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    antitrust case, European Commission, Gazprom, Europe, Russia
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