State could lose EUR 1 billion over gas prices

The former government’s persistent interference with the price policy of gas utility Slovensky Plynarensky Priemysel (SPP) could now be costly for Slovakia in arbitration proceedings.

According to daily Hospodarske Noviny, if Slovakia loses the arbitration, the bill could amount to as much as EUR 1 billion.

It all started when in 2008 the government of Robert Fico adopted legislation that gave the state the right of veto over price proposals, while till then it was the sole decision of the company management, controlled by the foreign investors.

It is still not clear whether the gas utility will go ahead with such a court case, and company spokesman Ondrej Sebesta has declined to comment, saying “We won’t speculate on the matter at present”.

The Ministry of Economy acknowledges the potential of such arbitration and is in ongoing talks with SPP in an effort to avoid such an eventuality. Former economy minister Lubomir Jahnatek (Smer-SD) who led the ‘campaign’ against energy monopolies, says he is 100% convinced that the state would win the arbitration.

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