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Sefcovic: Moscow, Kiev like EUs idea of keeping gas transit

  BRUSSELS, Apr 11 (PRIME) -- Russia and Ukraine welcomed a January 21 proposal of the European Commission to continue gas transit to the E.U. across Ukraine after 2019, European Commission Vice President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic told PRIME in an interview released on Thursday.

I was waiting for reaction from both sides, and the reaction was quite positive. It did not seem to me that I suggested anything unrealistic ...I think that it (the proposal) can help us leave behind the disagreements and ensure a long-term agreement on gas transit between Russia, Ukraine and the European states, he said.

Russias gas transit contract with Ukraine expires after 2019, and Russia is building alternative routes. Januarys trilateral negotiations yielded no agreement prolongation deal but Brussels offered to prolong it for more than 10 years and volumes should be attractive for possible investors in modernization of Ukrainian pipelines.

The next trilateral negotiations will be held in May and Sefcovic said that an expert meeting between the three is possible before the negotiations.

He said that the European Commissions proposal must be further discussed at a ministerial level with Moscow and Kiev. Keeping gas transit meets Russias interests.

The European Commission will hardly receive a mandate to start negotiations with Russia to create an intergovernmental agreement on work of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, which is one of the alternative routes of supply, in 2019, the official said.

I am very realistic here since we have only several weeks left before the elections to the European Parliament, an institutional transition will follow. I do not think that something like this can happen in several weeks and we know (by the process of amendment approval) of the Gas Directive that clarification of all aspects takes time. I would assume that something like this will be needed to receive a mandate for the negotiations, Sefcovic said.

The official said that the recently approved amendments to the E.U. Gas Directive are not specifically targeted against Nord Stream-2.

Sefcovic said signing of an intergovernmental agreement with Russia on the details of Nord Stream-2 is the best scenario. I think that an intergovernmental agreement based on a mandate, for which weve asked the E.U. Council, would be the best option. Because then we would be able to see all legal aspects of this pipeline and the strategic aspects of gas transit across Ukraine and hope, to find a balanced solution, he said.

A gas crisis of the 20082009 winter will unlikely repeat in the E.U., Sefcovic said.


11.04.2019 11:50