Lithuania to appeal against EC's 28-mln-euro fine
06 Dec 2017, 20:04 ( 8 days ago)
The Lithuanian government decided Wednesday to appeal the European Commission's (EC) 28-million-euro (33.1 million U.S. dollar) fine imposed for dismantling a railway track to neighboring Latvia ten years ago.
The Lithuanian government decided to order state-controlled Lithuanian Railways to file an appeal to the EU's General Court, the country's minister of transport and communications, Rokas Masiulis, told local journalists after a cabinet meeting.
"We believe we have arguments for reduction of the fine. One should take into account that the case has lasted for many years," said Masiulis, arguing that long duration had contributed to the size of the fine.
"We hope that this could reduce the fine or even cancel it," argued Masiulis.
The minister said Lithuania was willing to rebuild the dismantled 19-km railway track to Renge in neighboring Latvia to settle the issue. Masiulis, as well as Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, ensured the construction would be carried out with the expense covered by Lithuanian Railways.
In 2008, Lithuanian Railways dismantled a 19-km-long railway track connection between Lithuania and neighboring Latvia, thereby preventing Polish oil company Orlen Lietuva from using the services of other railway companies. Orlen Lietuva, a subsidiary of Polish oil company PKN Orlen, is a major customer of Lithuanian Railways.
According to the European Commission, by dismantling a public rail infrastructure, Lithuanian Railways was trying to protect itself from competition.
Since receiving the fine, Lithuanian Railways hasn't denied breaching competition rules, but instead blamed the previous management of the company, and have pursued efforts to reduce the fine.
Following an investigation two months ago, the European Commission imposed a fine on Lithuanian Railways for breaching the EU anti-trust rules.
The EU's rail freight market was liberalized in 2007.