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Russia, EU to discuss energy cooperation at St Pete summit

June 02, 2012, 21:39 UTC+3

President Vladimir Putin said earlier he was hopeful that a compromise on the EU 3rd Energy Package could be reached

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MOSCOW, June 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia and the European Union will discuss energy cooperation at the upcoming summit in St. Petersburg on June 3-4.

“It has been developing well, on the whole. The first section of the Nord Stream gas pipeline was commissioned in November 2011 and the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline is expected to start by the end of this year,” presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said on Saturday, June 2.

But “there remain problems that bother us”, he added, naming specifically the implementation of the EU Third Energy Package and EU plans to build the so-called trans-Caspian gas pipeline.

The trans-Caspian pipeline is a part of Nabucco designed to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian natural gas by supplying it from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. The latter is considered the main source of gas for the project.

President Vladimir Putin said earlier he was hopeful that a compromise on the EU 3rd Energy Package could be reached.

“I do hope very much that we will be able to find a solution to these complex problems and questions through dialogue of partners,” he said when he was still prime minister.

At the same time, he said it would be unacceptable if the provisions of “the third energy package” were applied retroactively to affect current contracts between Gazprom and consumers.

“All kinds of unilateral decisions are made – ‘the 3rd Energy Package’, and it gets applied retroactively in an absolutely unprecedented way, which would seem unacceptable in the modern civilised world, and yet this happens,” he said.

According to Putin, the 3rd Energy Package can cause damage.

However European Commission Director-General for Energy Philip Lowe said that it is designed to ensure a higher degree of competition in the market as EU countries must not depend on any one source of energy supplies.

He confirmed that the EU has no problems with Russian companies if they play by European rules. He also believes that Russia should ratify the Energy Charter in order to reduce risks related to trade and investments in the energy sector.

“The sides are expected to reiterate their intention to develop mutually advantageous energy cooperation for creating an integrated energy complex in Europe, while pressing for strict compliance with existing bilateral and multilateral contractual obligations,” Ushakov said.

“The sides will discuss prospects for trade and economic cooperation in the context of Russia’s admission to the World Trade Organisation and Eurasian integration,” he said.

Ushakov stressed that these aspects are linked to further work in a new base agreement, which Russia and the EU agreed to conclude as far back as in 2005.

“At the current stage of the talks, the main question boil down to the trade and investment block,” he said.

Ushakov noted that Russia and the EU “have accumulated good experience of practical cooperation in the field of crisis response” and the sides will “review joint work on the Russia-EU agreement on cooperation in crisis management”.

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