EU General Court reduces fine amount for Lithuanian railway company

The European Union General Court has decided to reduce the fine imposed for Lithuanian state railway company Lietuvos geležinkeliai for demolishing the Mažeiķi–Reņģe railway section by EUR 7.8 million, reports railway magazine «Railway Supply» referring  BNN. news portal.

railway company
Picture: Эдийс Паленс / LETA

Having considered the complaint of Lietuvos geležinkeliai, the General Court ruled on Wednesday, 18 November, to reduce the previously imposed fine of EUR 27.873 million to EUR 20.069 million.

Nevertheless, the court decreed the decision of the European Commission, which stated that by destroying the Mažeiķi – Reņģe railway, the Lithuanian Railways abused their dominant position in the Lithuanian freight market.

Earlier, in October 2017, the European Commission imposed a fine of EUR 27.873 million on Lithuanian Railways for demolishing a section of the Mažeiķi – Reņģe railway. Since the Lithuanian railway company has already paid the fine, it will be able to recover 7.804 million euros.

Lithuanian Railways fulfilled the decision of the European Commission and restored the destroyed section of the railway. In February 2020, railway traffic was restored on this section.

The 19.5 km Mažeiķi – Reņģe railway section was unexpectedly stopped in 2008 due to a conflict between Lietuvos geležinkeliai and Polish oil concern Orlen owned oil processing company Orlen Lithuania. Initially it was reported that this section of the railway was closed for urgent repairs, but shortly after it was entirely demolished. This forced the refining company to use a longer and more expensive route to the Port of Riga.

At the request of Latvia and Orlen Lithuania, the European Commission launched an investigation in 2013 to determine whether Lietuvos geležinkeliai restricts competition in the Latvian-Lithuanian rail freight market and violates EU monopoly management rules, which prohibit abuse of monopoly position.

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