The leader of the main Estonian opposition Reform Party (Reformierakond), Kaja Kallas, did not mince her words when she called on the government to claim for damages from Russian energy company Gazprom for charging above-market-rate levels for natural gas supply.
Her statement comes in response to a May 24 European Commission announcement that decided not to fine the energy giant, but to impose obligations addressing concerns about the free flow of natural gas from Gazprom at competitive prices in the Central and Eastern European countries.
“The European court has found that Gazprom has abused its dominant market position by asking for inflated prices,” said Kallas on May 29. “’There have been plenty of cases like this where money paid in excess has been reclaimed.
“Essentially this judgement [from the European Commission] serves as the basis for confirming that Gazprom have abused its dominant market position, and harm has occurred as a consequence. As a result, damages could be claimed,” added Kallas.
As reported by Estonia’s ERR News, since the pricing infringements happened on Estonia soil, taking the matter to court in Estonia is possible.
Gazprom is the main gas supplier in a number of Central and Eastern European countries. In April 2015, the Commission sent the company a statement of objections. Specifically, Gazprom had breached EU antitrust rules by pursuing an overall strategy of differentiating gas markets along national borders in eight EU member states: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.