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Maroš Šefčovič: Everyone is a winner after EU-Russia-Ukraine gas talks

Maroš Šefčovič: Everyone is a winner after EU-Russia-Ukraine gas talks

Berlin, December 23 - Neftegaz.RU. An agreement was reached on 20 December on transit rules for Russian gas going through Ukraine. Maroš Šefčovič explains why this is good news for Europe and all parties concerned.

Maroš Šefčovič is European Commission Vice-President in charge of foresight. He also leads trilateral gas talks on behalf of the EU:

"Hat-trick before we ring in the New Year. This is the trilateral gas deal struck after the 2-day marathon talks (19-20 December) between the European Commission, Russia and Ukraine. Here’s why.

1st, we have secured an uninterrupted transit of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine for a period of up to 15 years. Long-term security of supply to European households was my №1 priority and we have sent a powerful message that the EU is guaranteeing warm homes, stable markets and competitive prices. The deal also helps maintain an important role of natural gas as a ‘bridge’ to a climate neutral European economy by 2050, with the large-scale deployment of renewable energy at its heart.

2nd, Ukraine will remain a strategic transit country. During 2020-2024 alone, Russia is set to send altogether 225 billion of cu m of gas to Europe via the Ukrainian route. Based on deal, this could be followed by additional 10-year cooperation. It is significant because gas transit revenues are an important source for the Ukrainian national budget. The continued transit will also ensure further investments into the country’s strategic infrastructure, and will facilitate the necessary reforms in the energy sector and beyond.

3dly, Russia will maintain its role of a reliable supplier to the European market, while keeping diversified transit routes. In addition, a series of outstanding and long-lasting legal disputes between companies will be put to bed thanks to an amicable out-of-court solution – a critical part of the negotiated deal.

This well-balanced ”protocol” with the key arrangements signed and sealed now paves the way for a long-term gas transit contract between companies. But it can achieve even more.

By closing the door on the past in the energy sector, there is an opportunity to hit a reset button in relations between Russia and Ukraine in a broader sense.

The European Commission’s convening power and Europe’s diplomacy with genuine attitude of an honest broker can certainly help. During the gas talks, a trilateral format in particular has proven effective in reaching tangible positive results. We have seen a gradual built up of trust and partnership, key ingredients to every negotiation.

Perhaps, this could serve as an inspiration or a recipe for other challenges, too", Šefčovič said.