Officials from the European Commission, accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities, carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of gas companies in five member states in relation to uncompetitive practices.

The countries concerned are Germany, Italy, France, Belgium and Austria and the Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EC-Treaty antitrust rules that prohibit restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position.

The raids are a preliminary step in investigations into suspected anti-competitive practices.