We have just concluded the second round of trilateral talks at the political level with Russia and Ukraine on the long-term transit of gas to Europe post-2019.
When we started this process in mid-July last year, I stressed that this will not be a one-off exercise.
During autumn, our experts did a lot of work. Now, the time was ripe to meet at the political level.
Moreover, time flies and every day we are getting closer to the end of 2019 when the current contract expires.
Therefore, I appreciate the participation of Russia's Energy Minister Novak, Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Minister Klimkin as well as the CEOs of the two companies involved, Gazprom and Naftogaz.
We took stock of the progress achieved so far, covering all key areas – the legal framework for a future transit contract; tariffs; unbundling of the transmission system operator in Ukraine; and the EU's future gas demands. In addition, security of gas supply this winter was also discussed.
At the end of today's meeting, I tabled a proposal for both parties to reflect upon.
It covers three main parameters of a future transit agreement, namely duration; volumes; and tariffs. But it also covers other important parameters, such as investment and maintenance of the gas system; legal requirements; and technical requirements.
Without going into details now – for the sake of a successful outcome – I am convinced that this is a fair proposal.
Based on this, I would like to convene the next ministerial meeting in May. Meanwhile, our work will continue at the level of senior experts.
Now allow me a few words on my bilateral talks with Russia and Ukraine respectively.
With Russia's Minister Novak, we discussed the issue of synchronization of Baltic States with the electricity grid of continental Europe.
The Commission remains fully committed to achieve this by 2025 – without any risk to the Baltics, Russia nor Belarus.
That's why we place a strong emphasis on close cooperation among transmission system operators on all sides. One of such meetings is planned for 25 January.
With Ukrainian side, we discussed the issue of unbundling.
The Commission welcomes and supports Ukraine's commitment to unbundling and we will discuss the latest proposal from Naftogaz.
Some work remains to be done. And therefore, the Commission will also organise a meeting with European transmission system operators – to use their know-how for the benefit of the process.
If all goes well and if all actors work towards the same goal, I am confident that this process will be successfully completed by the end of this year.
Thank you very much for your attention.