The European Commission has confirmed that its officials are carrying out “unannounced inspections” at several companies active in the natural gas supply and transmission sector in Romania, an EC press release informs.
The Commission points out that its officials received support from their counterparts from Romania’s Competition Council.
“The Commission has concerns that the companies involved may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and the abuse of a dominant market position (Articles 101 and 102 respectively of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). The Commission is investigating potential anticompetitive practices in the transmission and supply of natural gas in Romania, in particular relating to suspected anticompetitive behaviour aimed at hindering natural gas exports from Romania to other Member States,” the EC communique reads.
The European Commission points out that unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation. The European Commission adds that there is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anticompetitive conduct and their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case, the extent to which companies cooperate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.