Without naming Russian monopolist Gazprom, the Commission stated that a "territorial clause" also known as the 'Gazprom clause' effectively forecloses the Polish gas market, negatively impacting upon competition, consumers' interest and security of supply.
The 'Gazprom clause' prevents importing countries from reselling surplus gas to their neighbours when they receive more than they need.
According to the Commission, Poland violates its obligation to store gas on its territory, discriminating against EU companies that export gas to Poland and forcing them to seek ways to transport gas to storage facilities.
The Commission also points to foreign companies' lack of access to the Yamal pipeline, which brings Russian gas to Germany from Poland's border with Belarus. The Commission statement cites a so-called "territoriality clause," which forecloses the market for EU gas suppliers, in turn endangering Poland's security of supply.
Analysts have repeatedly warned that Russia is supplying its EU customers under long-term supply contracts, many of which contain a so-called "territorial clause". This 'Gazprom clause' breaches EU single market rules and allows the Russian monopolist to sell gas to different EU countries at different prices, in a divide-and-rule strategy.
The Gazprom clause also prevents the establishment a functional EU-wide gas market.
The Commission is of the opinion that Poland should grant third-party access to the Yamal pipeline and allow gas to flow in both directions by allowing the transport of gas from Germany to Poland. Such requirements are obligatory under EU gas legislation and are aimed at addressing supply security issues.
Poland could also expand its gas pipeline interconnectors within the EU gas market, the Commission believes. This would enable Poland to access the EU gas market and thus strengthen Polish security of supply, the EU executive states.
Poland now has two months to respond to the requests, which take the form of 'reasoned opinions' under EU infringement procedures. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may refer Poland to the European Court of Justice.