The problem of the dismantled Renge railway stretch between Mažeikiai, northern Lithuania, and the Latvian city of Renge can be solved by rebuilding the line, says the European Union's (EU) Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, adding that there are other solutions, as well.
A train
© Lietuvos geležinkeliai

"A fine doesn't solve the problem that Lithuanian Railways have created. It is now up to the company to come back to us and show how it plans to end the abuse. The most obvious solution could be to rebuilt the tracks but there can be others," Vestager said at the 14 th Baltic competition conference in the Lithuanian capital on Tuesday.

In her words, Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LG) was imposed the fine of nearly 28 million euros for abusing its dominant position to prevent competition. She said the EC had established that the Lithuanian company barred its client, Orlen Lietuva, from taking advantage of competition.

"The Orlen oil refinery had been for years using Lietuvos Geležinkeliai's services, sending its products abroad, however, in 2008 decided to see whether it could get better prices from Latvian railways," said the EC member.

"Instead of responding by cutting prices or giving better service, Lithuanian Railways decided to find a away to avoid competition. The most sensible way for Orlen to reach Latvia was removed and still hasn't been fixed. Lithuanian Railways hasn't been able to explain why it had removed tracks if not to stop competition," said Vestager.

EC last week announced that Lietuvos Geležinkeliai had unlawfully limited competition by removing the railway tracks from Mažeikiai to Renge in 2008, imposing a fine of 27.8 million euros. Lithuania was also instructed to mend the violation – rebuild the stretch or take other steps to restore competition.

Lithuanian officials do not admit the violation, saying that the 19-km stretch had been dismantled for safety reasons.

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