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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Remarks by President Barroso following the signing ceremony on the gas agreements between Ukraine and Russia
Joint press conference
Brussels, 30 October 2014
Dear Vice-President Oettinger,
Dear Vice-President Šefčovič,
Minister Novak of the Russian Federation,
Minister Prodan of Ukraine,
Ladies and gentlemen,
There could not be a better way to end my mandate as President of the European Commission than by announcing a very important agreement between Russia and Ukraine, an agreement to which the European Commission has contributed with very patient and determined efforts. Just this morning at 1am and 2am I was speaking with President Poroshenko on the phone and I cannot count how many hours Vice-President Oettinger and his team have devoted during I think six months to facilitate this agreement.
Indeed, with the strong support of the European Commission, Ukraine and Russia have today found agreement on their outstanding energy debt issues, and on an interim solution that enables supplies to continue this winter. Vice-President Oettinger and his colleagues will explain the terms in a second.
I am glad that political responsibility, the logic of cooperation and simple economic sense have prevailed.
This is an important step for our shared energy security on the European continent. There is now no reason for people in Europe to stay cold this winter.
I expect all parties, both suppliers and transit countries, to fully abide by the rules they have now agreed together and act as reliable partners. It is obvious that no one would stand to gain from a potential disruption. Fruitful energy relations are a two-way street.
Let me in particular thank Vice-President Günther Oettinger and his team for their tireless – and now successful - efforts over the last months. Dear Günther, you have done a fantastic job! This is the Commission at its best and I want to congratulate you and all the colleagues that have been working directly with you.
I am also hopeful that this agreement can contribute to increase trust between Russia and Ukraine, which is so fundamental for a full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
This must now be the priority.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the last decade, I have spent more time than I care to admit dealing with the different energy issues between Russia and Ukraine. This is definitely my last intervention and I would hope that it is the last one required from the European Commission in the years to come.
But our work doesn't stop here. Strengthening EU energy security has been a main theme of the two last mandates of the Commission. Last week's European Council agreement on the 2030 energy and climate framework, which the European Commission proposed, is testimony to that.
The new Commission will build on this work towards a true Energy Union worthy of this name. The presence here today of the future Vice-President for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, is a sign of this continuity and of the commitment of the next College to this very important project for our entire continent.
So again, congratulations to all of you. Congratulations also your teams from Russia and from Ukraine for their willingness to come eventually to a compromise.
I thank you for your attention.