| WARSAW, March 15
WARSAW, March 15 Poland aims to use "all legal
means" to block the European Union's proposed terms for settling
its antitrust investigation into Russian gas company Gazprom
, the country's foreign minister said on Wednesday.
EU competition regulators said on Monday that concessions
made by Gazprom following charges that it has abused it dominant
position in central and eastern European gas supply markets
should ease concerns of market abuse, while Poland and other
eastern EU countries wanted a tougher line taken by Brussels.
If it comes into force, the legally-binding deal would
entail Gazprom doing away with supply terms which bar importing
countries from re-exporting its gas to other countries, tying
contracts to investments in pipelines, and making its pricing
fairer in supplying the three Baltic states, Bulgaria and
Poland, where currently there is little competition.
Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski reiterated
that Warsaw has always been opposed to Gazprom gaining a greater
share of the European gas market.
"We believe that the Russians will use their supplies as an
instrument of political influence," Waszczykowski told reporters
at a joint news conference with his Ukrainian counterpart, Pavlo
"It's a pity that our idea has not found an understanding in
the European Commission," he said, referring to Poland's own
proposals for a settlement with Gazprom.
He declined to say what those proposals are but said Poland
and Ukraine, which has not bought gas from Russia for more than
a year because of a political stand-off with Moscow, "will use
all legal means, international courts, to present our view on
this political project."
Poland imports most of its gas from Russia, but
Waszczykowski said his country is working on freeing itself from
its dependency within five years.
On Tuesday Poland's state-run gas company PGNiG
said it was confident that a new pipeline system to import gas
from Norway via Denmark and the Baltic Sea would be ready by
Poland and seven other states in the region affected by the
case have until May 4 to object to the European Commission's
view and seek changes to the deal.
Piotr Wozniak, chief executive of PGNiG, said that his firm
was not satisfied with Gazprom's concessions and that the
Commission had not dealt adequately with what he said were the
Russian company's monopolistic practices.
"We are not satisfied with that. We have seven weeks to
react," Wozniak said.
Ukraine's state energy company Naftogaz is also seeking to
join PGNiG in a court case challenging the EU's decision to give
Gazprom more capacity in the Opal gas pipeline in Germany.
Poland is fighting the EU's approval of a deal giving
Gazprom access to more than its 50 percent share of Opal's
capacity, which is expected to enable Russia to eventually
bypass Ukraine as a gas export route by expanding its capacity
to export into Europe via the Baltic Sea and Opal instead.
The EU, Klimkin said, "should ask itself a question. Does it
want to be dependent on a country, and Gazprom is a part of
Russia, whom no one trusts?"
(Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Greg Mahlich)