WTO: Some EU Energy Policies Discriminate Against Russian Gas

GENEVA (Alliance News) - The EU and its eastern member states have been imposing several unfair ...

Alliance News 10 August, 2018 | 5:57PM
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GENEVA (Alliance News) - The EU and its eastern member states have been imposing several unfair restrictions on gas imports from Russia, the bloc's largest supplier, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled Friday.

Moscow had brought the trade dispute to the Geneva-based body in 2014, complaining that so-called Third Energy Package of policies that the EU adopted five years earlier had erected discriminatory hurdles for Russian gas and pipeline services.

In particular, the WTO took issue with a restriction on Russian involvement in the OPAL pipeline that takes gas from the Nord Stream pipeline at the Baltic Sea coast and transports it onward to Western and Central Europe.

The WTO also ruled against efforts by Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania and the entire EU to wean themselves off Russian supplies.

However, the trade body also rejected a long list of complaints brought by Russia against elements of the Third Energy Package, including its separation of gas suppliers from pipeline operators.

Russia's Economic Ministry said the ruling would make it easier to ship gas to the EU, and that it would help Russia compete on the European market.

"This is a positive precedent that makes it possible to change the legal norms that created obstacles for Russian suppliers in the EU market, both in EU legislation and in the legislation of individual member countries," the ministry said in its statement.

In Brussels, the European Commission stressed that the WTO had rejected most of Russia's claims.

The EU executive body added, however, that it "will now analyse the ruling in detail, in particular as regards a limited number of issues on which the WTO-compatibility of EU energy policy has still not been recognized."

Russian gas accounted for 37% of imports into the EU last year in terms of value, slightly ahead of shipments from Norway, according to EU data.

By Albert Otti

Copyright dpa

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