(EDM) The European Commission delivered, on April 22, a “statement of objections” resulting from its probe launched back in September 2012, which amounts to charging Gazprom with abusing its dominant position on the gas market in several EU member states. The content of the charges has been less consequential than many experts had expected, and the price of Gazprom shares at the Moscow stock exchange already recovered from its small dip—although it still remains some 60 percent lower from its peak in 2008 (Kommersant, April 23). Media commentators speculated about the inevitable penalty reaching perhaps 15 billion euros ($16.3 billion), but the fact of the matter is that Gazprom has 12 weeks to prepare a response, which will then be evaluated by the European bureaucracy, before a specific fine is determined or a settlement is reached (Newsru.com, April 22). The space for compromise may be open, but for the Kremlin, these charges are not a matter of bargaining, but of principle.
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