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Brussels, 21 May 2014
Letter from President Barroso to President Putin
I refer to your letter of 14 May 2014 to several Member States of the European Union, to which I am replying on behalf of the European Union and its 28 Member States.
In my previous letter to you of 16 April, I indicated that Commissioner Oettinger would immediately start trilateral discussions with Minister Novak and Minister Prodan, which the European Union had previously suggested, in order to ensure the stabilisation of gas supplies into Ukraine and gas deliveries via Ukraine into the European Union. At the first constructive and substantive ministerial meeting held in Warsaw on 2 May, it was agreed to follow-up with technical discussions, which started on 12 May, as well as with further bilateral meetings between Commissioner Oettinger and his two counterparts from the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
The discussions held have in particular covered the issue of the price for gas supplies to Ukraine and have established the willingness of the Government of Ukraine to pay the agreed upon arrears. It is imperative that all sides continue to engage in this process constructively and also agree on a future price that reflects market conditions. As long as the trilateral talks are on-going, gas flows should not be interrupted. I count on the Russian Federation to maintain this commitment. It therefore continues to be Gazprom’s responsibility to ensure the deliveries of the required volumes as agreed in the supply contracts with European companies. I also recall that the European Union expects the Russian Federation to activate the early warning system well in advance if ever the need arises.
At the same time, a structural solution requires that all parties commit to ensure transparency and market opening in the Ukrainian gas sector, and transparent conditions for gas storage in, and gas transit via, Ukraine, for example by means of cooperation among all the Transmission System Operators involved and construction of the necessary gas metering stations at the Russian-Ukrainian border.
In this regard, the European Union is prepared to provide actual data on the incoming gas flow from Ukraine. I count on both the Russian Federation and Ukraine to also commit in the short term to provide actual data on gas inflow and transit through Ukraine.
It is the European Union's clear expectation that all sides will remain reliable and responsible supply and transit partners, which is also very much in their own interest. The European Union and other international donors have already provided significant support to Ukraine and will remain committed. I also expect a constructive approach from the Russian Federation to solve the issues at hand.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the readiness of the European Union to continue the substantive trilateral discussions, and to help find a rapid and sustainable solution acceptable to all parties.
José Manuel BARROSO"