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Brussels, 9 January 2009

Monitoring team starts work in Kiev and Gas Coordination Group urges Naftogaz and Gazprom to resume gas deliveries immediately

The Gas Coordination Group met today together with experts from Gazprom, Naftogaz and Ukrainian administration in Brussels to discuss the current gas crisis and to reach a common understanding between experts of the main elements of the dispute in order to facilitate an immediate resumption of gas supply to the EU. As the European market has lost about 30% of its gas imports, at a time of very low temperature, the Group underlined the importance and the necessity for both disputing parties to resume urgently supply and transit of gas towards the EU.

"Security of energy supply is one of the three pillars of European Energy policy. Europe needs reliable partners. Suppliers must respect their contractual obligations towards European industry and transit countries must live up to their international transit obligation. A commercial dispute cannot have such disproportionate consequences", said Commissioner Piebalgs

The Group urged both parties, Gazprom and Naftogaz, to resume gas supply respectively transit towards the EU immediately, independently from the evolution of their commercial negotiations. The monitoring task force set up by the Commission with the industry is established and the first observers are travelling now to Kiev. Ukraine said it could be done in a matter of 12-36 hours. Both parties have to show their goodwill in order not to compromise further their reputation as reliable partners to the EU.

The Commission has called the two parties to find a stable and long-term solution for their divergences which continue to arise regularly during the past two years and the Group offered technical advice if they so wish. But gas supplies to the EU have to be restored immediately.


The Gas Coordination Group was created in 2006 according to Directive 2004/67 relating to measures that guarantee security of natural gas supply. Chaired by the European Commission, it is composed of gas competent representatives of Member States, the European organisations of the gas sector and consumers. The Group meets regularly (at least 4 times per year) to exchange information and to develop both short and long term concrete measures which reinforce the security of gas supply to the EU. The present meeting had been planned long in advance, having in mind a possible problem of supply given the recurrent dispute between Ukraine and Russia at the turn of the year.

Directive 2004/67 governs security of gas supplies in the EU. It has been implemented by Member States since 2006. It sets out a three step approach in case of supply crisis: the industry takes the necessary measures; if these are not adequate to mitigate the crisis, national measures are activated; if still not adequate and if the crisis reaches the major supply disruption indicator (20% of all imports are missing) the Community mechanism is activated: the Gas coordination Group is convened to discuss what further steps can be taken and to assist the Member States in difficulty. The Group can then propose further measures to the Council.

The recent Communication of the Commission, adopted on 13 November 2008 together with the Strategic Energy Review, to strengthen the measures to have a more effective action in case of gas crisis. In this Communication, the Commission proposes the revision of the directive and the elaboration of regional and EU emergency plans to be activated automatically in case of the occurrence of supply disruption of a certain importance.

The Energy Council will hold an extraordinary meeting on Monday 12 January to consider the results and recommendations of the meeting of the Gas Coordination Group of today.

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