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Russia and European Union disagree on Energy Charter and gas supplies

Ukraine needs to get 19.5 billion cubic meters of gas into its underground reservoirs, and this will cost over $4 billion. “If Ukraine has the money, that would be good – but we have doubts about that country’s ability to pay,” said President Medvedev at the Russia-EU summit last week.


During an official event at the Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk, President Dmitri Medvedev continued to address the topic of Russia’s greatness, which he had raised the previous day. On May 21, Medvedev suggested that the 11-hour flight to Khabarovsk – the summit location chosen voluntarily by European leaders – would enable them to “feel Russia’s greatness.” He said: “They need to understand how Russia is ordered, how large it is, and what kind of problems we have – as well as our advantages. Why we have different climates in different locations, and what kind of business can be promoted in which locations.”

Medvedev summed up the summit agenda as follows: overcoming the global crisis, energy sector cooperation, and shaping Europe’s security architecture.

Shortly before the summit, the EU effectively rejected Medvedev’s conceptual proposals for establishing new legal foundations for energy cooperation, replacing the current Energy Charter. Javier Solana said that the principles in the Energy Charter are the only possible foundation for energy relations between Russia and the EU. Arkady Dvorkovich, presidential aide for economic affairs, reports that at the summit, the Europeans said that many of the Russian proposals are worth discussing. But the Europeans, according to Dvorkovich, are proposing to amend the Energy Charter rather than coming up with a new treaty. “We, on the other hand, don’t want to amend a few points – we’re talking about radical revision,” said Dvorkovich.

As we reported earlier, Barroso came to the summit with his own proposal for amending the Energy Charter by establishing an “early warning mechanism.” After listening to this, Medvedev warned the EU that risks of further disruptions to gas supplies are arising already, since Ukraine needs to get 19.5 billion cubic meters of gas into its underground reservoirs, and this will cost over $4 billion. “If Ukraine has the money, that would be good – but we have doubts about that country’s ability to pay,” said Medvedev. He proposed that the EU should grant Ukraine a loan to cover gas supplies. Moreover, he said that Russia won’t be giving the Europeans any guarantees that gas supply disruptions through the fault of Ukraine won’t be repeated: “Russia has not given and will not give any assurances. Why should we? There are no problems on our side – everything is in order with gas and with meeting our obligations. Let the assurances be given by those who have to pay for the gas.”

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