EU, U.S. discuss Nord Stream 2, prospect of Ukrainian gas transit – Sefcovic
Vice-President of the European Commission for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic has informed the U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry about the proposal of the EC for correcting the EU gas directive in connection with the discussions on Nord Stream 2.
This sensitive matter [on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline] has been discussed in the European Union for some time. We had in-depth discussions on this topic. And we stressed our well-known concerns about Nord Stream 2, Sefcovic said at a press conference on Thursday after the EU-U.S. Energy Council held in Brussels.
Sefcovic informed Perry that the European Commission requested the Council of the EU a mandate to start negotiations [on amendments] with the member states. He said he also mentioned tripartite talks [on gas - EU-RF-Ukraine], which they will hold. I think that in this context this is the most urgent: we need to ensure that transit through Ukraine continues, vice-president of the EC said.
We agreed that this is of strategic importance for the energy security of Europe, but also for the continuation of reforms in Ukraine and for the economic development of the country that has experienced many trials in these last years, Sefcovic continued.
Answering the question about the consequences for the European companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project, possible U.S. sanctions, the EC vice-president said he shares the opinion expressed by Perry that allies should not punish each other's enterprises. It is necessary to conduct a dialogue, coordinate, the way the both sides used to do it in the past, and not discuss sanctions.
Perry, participating in the press conference, said before that sanctions are not their preferred solution. There are always other options, the U.S. secretary said, noting that the parties had held frank discussions on Nord Stream 2.