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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Remarks by President Barroso following the special meeting of the European Council
Brussels, 17 July 2014
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen,
The President of the European Council already presented the main conclusions of this Summit. I will restrict my remarks to the issues that I had the occasion to report to the European Council on. Matters that the European Commission is following directly, namely the implementation of the Association Agreement with Ukraine – including the DCFTA – and also the energy trilateral talks and the energy situation, namely regarding the impact of the crisis between Russia and Ukraine on Europe.
I have updated the European Council on the trilateral talks on the implementation of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine.
As you know, I've proposed some time ago to set up a process of consultation together with President Poroshenko and President Putin on some regulatory concerns – technical regulations standards or sanitary measures –; some concerns that have been expressed by Russia related to the implementation of the DCFTA. In the meeting that we organized here in Brussels we decided to set up a process of consultation to find solutions for those matters.
We will have the next meeting at political level on 12 September to review the experts' conclusions and address the outstanding points. On the European side it is Commissioner De Gucht, the Commissioner for Trade, who is representing the European Union, meeting the ministers from Ukraine and from Russia.
Energy supply to Ukraine is a further area of concern. At this stage, Ukraine is meeting its current gas needs from domestic sources and alternative suppliers, and the Commission is also enabling gas reverse flows from EU Member States. We have made some proposals and now they are working.
We are also working with the parties, namely Ukraine and Russia, trying to bring them to the negotiating table to secure a deal on gas supplies. Vice-President of the Commission and Commissioner for Energy Mr Oettinger has held talks with the Russian Minister and is working to restart the negotiations as soon as possible.
The Commission has also launched a stress test exercise to check the resilience of our energy systems to different scenarios of partial or total disruption of gas supply to and via Ukraine. We will be ready to report on the findings of the exercise before the October European Council.
I have also repeated my message to all the Heads of State and Government of the European Union on the importance that the EU maintains its unity of approach. Our policy of strengthening Europe's energy security and reducing external dependency requires transparency and respect for our internal market rules.
The other important priority is to help get Ukraine's economy back on track and pursue the necessary reforms. The High Level meeting on coordinating and implementing the international support held on 8 July, hosted here in Brussels by the Commission, confirmed our resolve. We will continue to stand by Ukraine and work, with the assistance of the Support Group we have set up, to attract more public and private investment to restart the economy.
So these were the main points I have discussed, in the competences of the Commission, today in the European Council. The other issues President Van Rompuy already mentioned.