The European Commission vs. Gazprom: An Issue of Fair Competition or a Foreign Policy Quarrel?
The proceedings opened by the European Commission against Russia's gas giant Gazprom for allegedly violating European Union competition rules is likely to have a considerable impact on the future of EU-Russia relations. There are widespread concerns that the probe will contribute to consolidating Russia's apparent zero-sum game approach to foreign policy, thus risking to undermine its long-established energy relationship with the EU. However, while involving risks, the Commission's inquiry also presents itself as a unique opportunity to reorganize Gazprom's business structure in Europe and eventually help both Gazprom itself and EU buyers to best adapt to a rapidly changing global gas market.
1. The Commission's proceedings against Gazprom
1.1. Market partitioning
1.2. Barriers to supply diversification
1.3. Unfair pricing
2. Gazprom's interests in the EU
3. Russia's reaction to the EC investigation
4. The way ahead