Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/ukraine : Little Enthusiasm for Russia's Consortium Proposal

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/ukraine : Little Enthusiasm for Russia's Consortium Proposal

Article excerpt

Ukraine and the European Union have showed little interest in Russia's idea to form a consortium of Russian, Ukrainian and EU partners that would overlook natural gas transit through Ukraine to Europe. At their bilateral EU-Ukraine troika meeting, held on 5 February in Prague, both parties stated that at this stage it was too early to discuss such plans.

"Let us deliberate on strategic goals and technical steps and after that we will come to some conclusions," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ogryzko said, adding that Ukrainian law prevents the privatisation of pipeline infrastructure.

EU Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner was equally cold towards the Russian idea, insisting that such decisions would have to wait for the Lisbon Treaty, which is to introduce the common foreign policy, to enter into force. "Then we can discuss different ideas that are around. But there are many, many other ideas too," she said.

The idea to form an international consortium was floated by Russia in the wake of its gas crisis with Ukraine last month to help resolve the problem with supply of so-called technical gas'. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin laid out the proposal in a meeting with Alexei Miller, CEO of Russia's state-controlled gas giant Gazprom, and Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of the Italian energy firm Eni SpA. According to the proposal, the consortium would be tasked with purchasing the technical gas' supplies via Ukraine to the European Union. …

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