Remarks by Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič following trilateral talks on gas transit with Russia and Ukraine
Brussels, 28 October 2019
We have just concluded the fourth round of trilateral talks at political level on the long-term transit of Russian gas via Ukraine to Europe as of next year.
My key message during our meetings, both bilateral and trilateral was: the time is flying and given the date, there is – and there must be – a clear sense of urgency. Therefore, I appealed to everyone around the table to be as constructive as possible.
Unfortunately, I am disappointed by today’s outcome. And I say this very openly.
I had prepared today’s trilateral talks in a way that should have allowed us – if there was a political will on all sides – to see a positive progress.
Our objective was to arrive to common understanding on key principles regarding the future transit of Russian gas via Ukraine. I mean common understanding that:
- A future contract will be based on EU legislation;
- Tariff-setting follows a new methodology in line with EU practice;
- Then, orientation discussion on volume of the future transit contract;
- As well as the contract’s duration
- I underlined that an Interconnection Agreement between Ukraine and Russia should be signed as soon as possible;
- I listened very carefully to the Russian side and the outcome of the Senior officials meeting on 21 October: therefore, this also included potential volumes of direct gas sales to Ukraine;
- As well as legal disputes, namely Stockholm and Anti-monopoly case.
These parameters were acceptable to our Ukrainian partners who were ready to engage on the basis of our proposal.
Unfortunately, the Russian delegation was not prepared to do the same at this moment – and I underline at this moment.
What next? Yes, I am disappointed but I am certainly not giving up as long as there is time. At the end of the meeting, we had better mutual understanding and I am 100 percent convinced that there is a possibility to arrive to a balanced solution.
We concluded with an agreement to:
- Intensify bilateral contacts between respective Ministries/administration and companies;
- I offered a possibility of a subsequent trilateral meeting at expert level on technical issues.
- And I also foresee the next round of trilateral talks at political level in November. I would plead for a date as soon as possible, but it needs to be well prepared with a clear possibility to progress.
To conclude, I appeal to use every day for bilateral talks because 1 January 2020 is around the corner. We feel where solutions lie but we need a political will.