The European Commission (EC) has proposed a draft bill to enable Brussels to assess and potentially vet all intergovernmental gas contract drafts that the EU countries would aim to conclude with Russia prior to the signing, in order to ramp up the efforts to curb the influence of Moscow’s Gazprom, The Financial Times reported.
The Commission intends to require all partners signing long-term deals of more than one year with external energy providers to report to Brussels on the terms, volumes of supplies and consequences of the termination of the contracts, further clarified New Europe.
As Gazprom supplies 30% of Europe’s gas, Brussels is concerned with Moscow’s purported dominance in the market to such a degree that it enforces illegal clauses in supply contracts with eastern European states, some of which are fully dependent on Russia’s gas shipments. One of the problematic clauses in the energy agreements, to which Brussels has raised objection in recent years, was forbidding the unilateral resale of Russian gas by an importing country. The EU perceives such stipulation as infringing upon the open market and EU competition laws. While the EC is attempting to protect the internal market and enhance the EU’s energy security with the draft bill, some diplomats expect it to trigger resistance form larger EU countries, as Gazprom had previously agreed in talks with the EU to end this practice.
The new measure comes on the background of an ongoing anti-trust case opened by the EC in April 2015 against the Russian company, after eight eastern European countries complained about Gazprom having increased gas prices, unlike in dealings with western Europe.