Thursday

17th Aug 2017

EU to help Ukraine cut Russia gas dependence

  • EU energy commissioner Sefcovic in Kiev on Friday (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The EU aims to help Ukraine become independent of Russian energy supplies in the next “three to four years”, Ukraine's prime minister and an EU commissioner have said.

Volodymyr Grossman, the prime minister, spoke of the plan in Kiev on Friday (2 September), while hosting the European Commission’s energy chief, Maros Sefcovic.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Ukrainian gas supplier Naftogaz is notoriously corrupt and inefficient (Photo: naftogaz.com)

He said Ukraine aims to “consume less energy and produce more energy” so that it can go from being “an energy importer to an energy exporter”, ensuring “energy independence” in “three or four years’ time”.

Among the reforms, it aims to split up its notoriously corrupt national gas distributor, Naftogaz, impose market prices for gas consumers, create an independent energy regulator, and create a new “energy efficiency fund”.

Sefcovic said that Brussels and Kiev are “very close” to finalising a new memorandum on EU support for the initiatives.

He said that if Ukraine created the efficiency fund, it would allow the EU to pay out a further €600 million in macro-financial assistance.

He also pledged to get the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund to get behind the energy reforms.

“Would Ukraine manage to increase its energy efficiency levels to the EU average level, the savings achieved would be greater than the energy consumption of Spain over a whole year. Ukraine could thus even become an exporter of energy”, the EU commissioner said.

He added that part of the joint strategy would be to make sure Ukraine's poorest private households get relief from price hikes.

Ukraine currently imports just 18 percent of its natural gas directly from Russia, compared to 34 percent in 2014. The drop is due, in large part, to reverse-flow purchases from Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

But its real dependence on Russia is higher, given that 90 percent of Slovak gas and some 45 percent of Hungarian and Polish gas originates in Russia.

The dependence helps the Kremlin to exert political pressure on Kiev with cut-offs or threats of cut-offs in a situation set to get worse if Russia builds new pipelines under the Baltic Sea or Black Sea bypassing Ukraine, as well as its reverse-flow suppliers.

The Russian timeline for the projects to be up and running is 2020 - the same as Grossman's "three to four years".

With winter - the usual setting for Russian cut-offs - around the corner, Sefcovic added in Kiev that the EU commission is willing to mediate, as in the past, to keep the gas flowing to Ukraine and via Ukraine to Europe.

“The trilateral format [EU, Ukraine, and Russia] remains the most suitable for discussing gas supplies for the upcoming winter heating season. In this sense, I am also looking forward to meet with Russian authorities in the next weeks”, he said.

EU trying to relaunch Ukraine peace process

Foreign ministers said the EU is ready to help with elections in Eastern Ukraine, while France and Germany are trying to bring back Russia to the negotiating table.

EU fixes own mistake on 'confusing' energy labels

UPDATED: MEPs approved a new system to inform consumers about the energy efficiency of products. The most important change is abolishing the most recent change to a scale that goes up to A+++.

US prevents G7 energy statement

The United States did not sign a joint statement at a G7 summit on energy because it did not want to include a reference to the Paris climate agreement.

Column / Crude World

Why China and Russia will be best frenemies forever

Russia and China bond over anti-Western rhetoric and the shared interest of keeping the US at bay, but beyond that, there is little that binds Moscow and Beijing together.

News in Brief

  1. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  2. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  3. Russian power most feared in Europe
  4. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  5. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  6. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns
  7. Danish police to investigate misuse of EU fishing rules
  8. German constitutional court questions ECB's €2tn spending

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides