Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 02/2013

The European Commission vs. Gazprom: An Issue of Fair Competition or a Foreign Policy Quarrel?

Nicolò Sartori

January 2013

Istituto Affari Internazionali


The proceedings opened by the European Commission against Russia's gas giant Gazprom for allegedly violating European Union competition rules is likely to have a considerable impact on the future of EU-Russia relations. There are widespread concerns that the probe will contribute to consolidating Russia's apparent zero-sum game approach to foreign policy, thus risking to undermine its long-established energy relationship with the EU. However, while involving risks, the Commission's inquiry also presents itself as a unique opportunity to reorganize Gazprom's business structure in Europe and eventually help both Gazprom itself and EU buyers to best adapt to a rapidly changing global gas market.