PM not to escalate conflict with Brussels over railway co's fine

Saulius Skvernelis

Lithuania's Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says that the country would search for the least unprofitable solution over the nearly 28-million-euro fine imposed on state-run company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LG) by the European Commission, however, a conflict with Brussels will be avoided.

The prime minister intends to discuss the issue and possible solutions with European Union's Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager who is on a visit in Vilnius on Tuesday.

"Today we want to hear how lawyers see the solutions, we want to see an assessment of the situation and find ways to handle the situation with dignity without escalating the conflict and with the lowest possible losses," Skvernelis told the national radio LRT on Tuesday morning.

In his words, Lithuania is also considering an appeal against the EC finding or negotiations for reduction of the fine.

"Yes, this is a considerable and large fine. We will not manage to come up with many arguments for not paying, however, we have to take every chance. There are all types of penalty payments and litigation costs, therefore, we should handle the situation in a rational manner free of emotions," said the prime minister.

Last week, Vestager, a Danish politician, stated that the Lithuanian state railway company had hindered competition by dismantling a rail track from Mažeikiai, in the northwestern part of the country, to Renge, in Latvia, in 2008. Lithuania was also instructed to mend the violation – rebuild the railway or take other steps to restore competition.

This issue and other matters will be high on the agenda of Vestager's meetings with President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Skvernelis, Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas, Transport and Communication Minister Rokas Masiulis and members of the parliament.

Source: BNS
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