The European Commission fined the Lithuanian Railways EUR 28 m for removing a rail track to PKN Orlen’s refinery in Mažeikiai and thus breaching the EU antitrust rules. According to Marek Zuber, an economist, Brussels made the right decision.
“This decision in based on the European Union law. If we agreed to participate in the block we have to respect certain rules,” our interlocutor started. He added the decision was right because it showed that the Lithuanians did not act appropriately when it came to business relations with Orlen Lietuva.
When asked how Brussels’ actions will impact the relations between Orlen’s Lithuanian subsidiary and the Lithuanian Railways he said it was difficult to assess at this moment. During the conversation with our portal the expert wondered whether in this situation the actions taken by Lithuania should be downplayed, or whether we should enforce certain solutions that stem from EU regulations. “This is not an attack on Lithuania, but on one of its companies that failed to follow the EU antitrust law,” he added.
According to Marek Zuber the Lithuanians may appeal against the EC’s decision. “They will definitely do it,” he said. ” I can imagine a situation where Poland gives up its demands, but this would have to involve a major settlement. The Lithuanians would have to offer Poland a framework of cooperation that would be attractive to us. The ball is not in our court. We may suggest such solutions, but this is mostly a matter between the Lithuanian Railways and the European Commission,” he added.
When assessing the fine imposed by Brussels on the Lithuanian company, the economist said that from the point of view of the losses it was severe. “For the Lithuanian Railways this money is important for the functioning of the company. However, PKN Orlen’s losses caused by Lithuanians are significantly higher,” the expert concluded.