The European Union (EU) is not going to open an investigation into Portugal’s fuel prices, at least for now. According to Jornal de Negócios, it doesn’t believe there are any reasons to do so.
“The mere discrepancy of prices at a regional, national and international level is not enough to prove the existence of anti-competitive behaviour and to justify the start of an investigation by the commission,” a source in Brussels told the newspaper.
The source added, however, that Portugal’s competition authority (AdC) is studying the situation and that the EU may change its mind if evidence of foul-play is found.
The competition authority, which started its inquiries in January, told Jornal de Negócios that the “analysis is still underway” but as the state made a new request for even more data in March, it is still too early to say when the study will be completed.
The issue centres on the fact that national fuel prices “systematically” do not match up those abroad. Thus, the state fears that a high-level of collusion could be at play.
As Portugal’s Secretary of State for Energy Jorge Seguro Sanches explained, there have been “successive fuel price hikes that do not reflect the international market” and which have had “very negative consequences” for consumers.