Today following the trilateral ministerial talks with Russia and Ukraine on the long-term transit of gas to Europe, Vice-President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said:
"This has been a long but a productive day.
I am pleased to announce that today, we have managed to establish a trilateral process with Russia and Ukraine. In other words, we have a joint agreement that today's meeting was not a one-off exercise.
We have also agreed that we need to separate old and new issues.
All three sides will now mandate their high-level experts to work on four issues
1. The European Union's gas needs;
2. Ways in which the EU law applied in Ukraine would impact on the future transit contract;
3. Certified transmission system operator; and
4. The tariffs.
They should meet in mid-September.
This will prepare grounds for the next trilateral meeting at the political level that should take place in the course of October. In fact, this will be the frequency of our trilateral talks - approximately six to eight weeks.
To have everyone around one table today and to start building trust was of vital importance. As you know, time is passing quickly and every day we are getting closer to the end of 2019.
You all know the fundamental question - whether on 1 January 2020, we will have an agreement on the long-term transit of Russian gas to the EU through Ukraine in a commercially viable manner.
Therefore, I appreciate the high-level participation from both, Russia and Ukraine, which was necessary to start this process going - I hope that we will continue to see a firm commitment on both sides to reach an agreement at the end of this process.
I am convinced that such an agreement is in everyone's best interest.
So once again, this was a good day, marking a start of what will be a complex, difficult process.
A trilateral process is the most effective platform to seek a satisfactory solution to the gas matters important for involved parties."
Video statement available here.