Brussels, 7 June 2016
The European Commission can confirm that on 6 June 2016 its officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies active in the supply and transport of natural gas in Romania.
The Commission has concerns that the companies involved may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or 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 Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the Romanian competition authority.
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 anticompetitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. The Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings.
There is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anticompetitive conduct. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.