BERLIN, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Action by the European Union against Russian gas company Gazprom is part of an effort to get lower prices for natural gas, a Russian leader said.
In September, the European Commission announced a 15-month investigation into Gazprom's activity in the eurozone. The commission said it was concerned that Gazprom abused its market position in the upstream natural gas sector in Central and Eastern Europe.
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told Euronews that the EC action was a ploy to barter for lower natural gas prices.
"All these actions are being taken for one purpose only -- to make Gazprom reduce the price of the gas it supplies," he said.
Shuvalov said lower natural gas prices meant production would decline in response, which could lead to a sharp increase in prices for raw materials.
European consumers get about 20 percent of their natural gas from Russian suppliers.
Gazprom, in a statement, said it "scrupulously" meets the letter of the law in all countries where it conducts business.
Shuvalov gave the interview in Berlin, where he was attending an economic summit.