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Published in Stream:
Interpreter_Mag's Press Stream
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
European Union Reaches Decision to Charge Gazprom with Abusing Its Position as Monopolist in Eastern Europe
6 years
Marked Reduction In Violence Across Front
One Ukrainian Soldier Killed, Three Wounded As Fighting Continues

The European Union (EU) has finally reached a conclusion to charge Gazprom with monopolizing the gas market in Europe, contrary to EU regulations.

This decision was long in the coming and needed the current political climate, where Europeans have grown increasingly alarmed at Russia's aggression against Ukraine as well as its encroachments on their own territories, to be realized.

While designed to deter Russia's bad behavior, there are concerns from some it will worsen relations and create more reciprocal actions by Moscow.

Yet as this humorous tweet indicates, there's a limit to how much Russia can use gas blackmailing of Europe -- which has relied on Russia for 25% of its gas -- without then depriving itself of its main foreign-currency customer willing to pay higher market prices than its allies and China, it's new partner.
But the EU's decision is certainly a landmark in relations with Russia and they will not return to the status quo ante.

Russia has three months to respond to the charges, and a lot could happen then, including a splitting on the EU regarding the removal of sanctions against Russia over its aggression against Ukraine.

The question is whether Europe has the stamina to keep both the sanctions and to keep what the Russians will portray as a politically-motivated maneuver on the monopoly issue both going at once.

Even if there were no war in Ukraine, the EU would have good reason to challenge Gazprom's monopoly and continue to figure out ways to reduce its dependency on Russia. This it has been doing through ending the South Stream project and backing the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to obtain gas from Azerbaijan and route it to Greece via Albania and the Adriatic Sea then to Italy and further to Western Europe. To be sure, Russia has countered with Turkish Stream once again changing the calculus for prospects of independence from Russia in the Southern Corridor.

Russia will likely challenge the ruling nonetheless with every argument it can muster.