More than 40 MEPs called on the European Commission to launch an investigation into Gazprom’s role in the record rise in natural gas prices in Europe. The MEPs suspect that the Russian gas monopoly manipulates the market and violates EU competition rules.
Andrius Kubilius, Lithuanian MEP, co-chair of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, permanent European Parliament rapporteur on Russia, published the text of the letter on his Twitter account.
“We call on the European Commission to urgently open an investigation into possible deliberate market manipulation by Gazprom and potential violation of EU competition rules,” reads the document.
The reason for such suspicions was the refusal of the Russian company to supply raw materials through existing pipelines, as well as restrictions on production. At the same time, MEPs pointed to the link between rising prices and the completed construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, through which Russian gas should be supplied to Europe via Germany. A permit to operate this pipeline has not yet been obtained.
The letter was signed by MEPs from Poland and the Baltic states, representing “various political groups.”
European Commission spokesperson Arianna Podestà confirmed receipt of the document. She also said that the situation on the energy market was being closely followed, and Nord Stream 2 should be operated transparently and without discrimination.
The Kremlin has traditionally denied the Russian Federation’s involvement in rising gas prices in Europe, and Gazprom says the EU will get everything agreed in the contracts, and attempts are being made to meet additional demand.
As a reminder, the price of gas hit a record high in Europe this week. On 15 September, the figure exceeded $950 per 1,000 cubic metres. Rising prices are associated with extremely low gas reserves in the underground storage facilities before the heating season. There is a little more than a month left before gas will start to be extracted from the underground storage facilities, and the reserves have barely exceeded 70%.
Ukrainian authorities insist that Nord Stream 2 is the Kremlin’s weapon with which Moscow will influence Europe and Ukraine. It is noted that the sharp rise in gas prices in the EU is the first sign of Russia’s pressure on the European Union.