Sefcovic proposes involving Germany in quadrilogue to ensure gas transit via Ukraine
The Ukrainian transit route is strategic for the EU's energy security, and Germany's involvement in finding a solution that would safeguard its commercial viability is much appreciated and needed, European Commission Vice President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic has said.
"I could envisage a quadrilogue as a political impulse for negotiations with Ukraine," he wrote on Twitter after a meeting with German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier on Monday.
Sefcovic said at a joint press conference in Berlin that the European Commission very much appreciates German Chancellor Angela Merkel's latest statement on Nord Stream 2. According to him, it gives grounds to talk about the possibility of such a potential expansion of negotiations from the trilateral (Ukraine, Russia and the European Commission) to the quadrilateral format (Ukraine, Russian, the European Commission and Germany).
He noted that despite difficult conditions, Ukraine managed to ensure reliable transportation of 97 billion cubic meters of natural gas last season, setting a new record.
"This confirms that this transit route is working and is of strategic importance for providing gas not only to such a big country as Ukraine, but also to Central and Eastern Europe," Sefcovic said, confirming the priority for the European Commission to ensure that Ukraine retains a role in gas transit.
With regard to Nord Stream 2, he recalled the position of the European Commission that this pipeline should be built according to the same rules as all other gas pipelines in the EU.
Since the Ukrainian-Russian gas contract expires in 2019, he again called for negotiations to resolve problem issues and stated the need to give a political impetus to such negotiations, especially at high-level meetings.
Altmaier, in turn, noted that in the Nord Stream 2 issue, Germany