EU could be mediator in Ukraine and Russia gas transit talks - EC VP Sefcovic
The European Commission believes that it is important to retain transit of Russian gas across Ukraine after 2019 and proposes to be a mediator in the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia on the issue, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Energy Union Maros Sefcovic has said.
"It is important for us to have a viable transit route through Ukraine after 2019. We think that commercial deals on gas transit expiring in 2019 should be prolonged," he said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
He said that the European Commission would be pleased to see a deal between Russia and Ukraine and their companies.
"But as I’ve said, we are ready to be a mediator for this matter, as it was in the past. The EU is ready to reaffirm its interest in a transportation route through Ukraine if both sides are willing to talk in a trilateral format. Moreover, we are ready to provide our know-how, and European companies are ready to be part of this," he said.
Sefcovic said that in the past two years gas transit across Ukraine has increased, and in recent days it reached a record-breaking level, revealing how important the transit via Ukraine is.
"We cannot have only two routes instead of three (Ukraine and Nord Stream). We cannot ignore a big gas transmission system being constructed for many years in Ukraine," Sefcovic said.
He said that retaining of the routes means to have "commercially viable volumes of gas transition."
"We understand that there is a need of a good business case to maintain such a system. And we want that the route via Ukraine would be commercially viable and operational," he said.
Commenting on the recent decision of the European Parliament to empower the European Commission to present details of large contracts of gas companies influencing energy security of EU countries, Sefcovic said that this is a response to the non-observation of European legislation in some contracts earlier.
"We think that this is a very useful tool, and we going to apply it when necessary," he said.
"We do not see threats in gas supply. Our supply sources are diversified. We are more connected, and we utilize gas storages in a more efficient way. Moreover, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) has more importance for Europe now," he said.