Brussels, 11 January 2009
Statement from the President Barroso and Commissioner Piebalgs on the agreement for the gas monitoring
President Barroso said: "Following the intensive efforts of both the Czech Presidency and the Commission, I warmly welcome the agreement to the document setting out terms of reference for the monitoring mission that has been signed by Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission. This should now finally allow the resumption of gas supplies from Russia to the EU. I particularly thank the Presidency of the Council, Prime Minister Topolanek, for his final efforts to facilitate the deal in Kiev and Moscow. We now need the gas to flow immediately to the EU. There are many EU citizens at risk without gas supply, and this situation has gone on for far too long."
"Now that the terms of reference are agreed, the monitoring teams will start to do their work as soon as possible: hopefully there will soon be gas flowing for them to monitor - gas going to the European citizens that need it so badly", declared Commissioner Piebalgs.
Background on the recent actions of the European Union to reach tonight's agreement
Since the cut of supplies from Russia through Ukraine, the European Commission, together with the Czech Presidency, has undertaken an intense activity to achieve the restoration of gas supplies to the EU and to mitigate the dramatic consequences that this crisis has had in many EU Member States.
The Commission, together with the Presidency, sent on Monday 5th January a high level fact-finding mission to Kiev and Moscow. The Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Piebalgs, Andris Kesteris and Director General of DG TREN, Mathias Ruete, led the Commission delegation. The Czech part was composed of Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Riman and by Vaclav Bartuska, Ambassador-at-Large for Energy Security. The delegation met with First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksandr Valentynovych Turchynov. This meeting was also attended by the Deputy Prime Minister for EU Affairs Hryhoryi Nemyrya, Minister of Energetics Yuriy Prodan, and CEO of Naftogaz Oleh Dubyna.
The day after, President Barroso spoke to Prime Ministers Putin and Timoshenko on the phone and urged them to restore full gas supplies to the EU immediately. President Barroso made it clear that it was unacceptable that the EU's gas supply security was taken hostage to negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. He warned that reputation as reliable partners of Russia and Ukraine was at stake. President Barroso insisted that Ukraine and Russia had to find a stable and long-term solution to guarantee reliable gas supplies to the EU.
The Czech Presidency decided to call an extraordinary Energy Council for Monday the 12th of January.
In a new series of telephone conversations in the last couple of days, President Barroso and Commissioner Piebalgs got assurances from both sides that if an international monitoring mission was deployed to control the flows of gas would be fully restored. The European Commission services in cooperation with the European Gas Industry and the European Gas Transmission Operators built up a team of experts to undertake the monitoring mission.