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Brussels, 16 November 2009

The EU and Russia reinforce the Early Warning Mechanism to improve prevention and management in case of an energy crisis

As agreed by the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso and the President of the Russian Federation Dimitri Medvedev during the last EU-Russia Summit in Khabarovsk, the EU and Russia have strengthened the current dispositions under the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue to prevent and manage potential energy crises, with an enhanced Early Warning Mechanism. Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, and the Russian Minister for Energy, Sergei Shmatko, have signed today in Moscow the Memorandum on an Early Warning Mechanism that includes a clear definition of the circumstances that would trigger the activation of the mechanism, in terms of what constitutes a "significant disruption of supplies", be it due to maintenance of relevant infrastructure, accidents, or commercial disputes. On the same occasion, both parties also signed the 10th progress report of the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue.

President Barroso welcomed the signature of the Memorandum saying: "The enhanced Early Warning Mechanism is clear evidence of the goodwill of both sides to work together in a trustworthy and mutually beneficial manner, building ways to prevent and solve problems, even before they happen".

"An energy crisis like the one the EU suffered in January is harmful for supply, transit and consuming countries alike. We need to do everything necessary to make sure that such a situation never happens again. I'm confident that the implementation of this Mechanism will be a powerful tool to prevent, in any event, the transit or export of energy to the European Union being reduced or cut off", said Commissioner Piebalgs after the signature.

The new mechanism covers oil, natural gas and electricity, and includes three basic steps: Notification, Consultation and Implementation. In practice, it is foreseen for the EU or Russia to notify any likely oil, gas or electricity supply interruption, including an exchange of the assessments of the situation. It would then allow the holding of consultations or, if needed, to have a common assessment of the situation and a joint plan for a solution. Moreover third parties would be allowed to take part in the arrangement.

During the last EU-Russia Summit in Khabarovsk (21-22 May 2009) the EU and Russia agreed to start negotiations on the basis of the Commission's draft proposal for an Early Warning Mechanism, which was adopted by the Commission on 15 May 2009, and this today has been formally agreed by the two parties.

At the same time, Commissioner Piebalgs and Minister Shmatko also signed the 10 th Progress Report of the EU- Russia Energy Dialogue. This report sets a landmark for the celebration of the 10 th anniversary of the EU-Russia Energy dialogue, due in 2010.

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