Europe's energy dependence on Russia should be reduced – Sefcovic
European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic has stressed the importance of developing renewable energy sources, linking it to Europe's excessive dependence on Russian gas.
"It is important to take all the necessary measures when we know today that about two thirds of the gas we consume in Europe is imported gas. We state that our own production is decreasing and that gas imports, as a consequence, will only increase in the coming years. And here comes the problem with Russian gas supplies. The share of Russian gas in the total non-EU imports is clearly the highest and currently is about 40%," he said in Brussels on Wednesday, March 21, at a meeting of the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.
Sefcovic said that relations with Russia in the field of energy played a significant role in the EU's external energy ties, adding that great efforts are being made to ensure energy security aimed at reducing dependence.
At the same time, he stressed the need to remain realistic and pragmatic and maintain stable relations with third importing countries that play an important role in the European economy.
Sefcovic also spoke about the energy situation in Ukraine and gas transit.
"Ukraine is our close, strategic partner. It is a neighbor of the European Union, a partner in many sectors, including energy," he said.
He recalled the signing during the EU-Ukraine Summit in 2016 of a memorandum of understanding on energy, which outlines cooperation between the parties in this field. In early April this year, Sefcovic noted that a ministerial meeting on the energy situation in Ukraine would be organized.
"Our energy cooperation is aimed at modernizing the country's economy, because energy is the real cornerstone of the economic sector of this country," Sefcovic said, noting reform in the Ukrainian energy sector.
He also drew attention to the fact that Ukraine is an important country for the transit of Russian gas supplied to Europe. At the same time, he recalled the interruptions of Russian gas supplies to the EU in 2006 and 2009, which showed the vulnerability of the EU countries.
At the same time, he said: "We must admit that despite all the problems on the eastern border of Ukraine, this transit sector has functioned well in recent years."
Sefcovic added that gas transit is a source of income for Ukraine, especially important in the current state of its economy.
"There is no doubt that the tensions between the two countries, which in the recent past were prompted through the unlawful Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula and the terrible conflict in eastern Ukraine, have an immediate impact on the energy situation in Ukraine, but also in Europe," he said.
In this regard, he referred to the Stockholm Arbitration ruling on the dispute between Naftogaz and Gazprom, pointing to the EU's concern over recent measures taken by the Russian side in response to the court verdict.