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Russian PM disagrees with Europe’s position on Third Energy Package

January 23, 2013, 18:01 UTC+3
“Even if it pursue positive goals, it has a significant impact on existing ties and means a rejection of current agreements,” Medvedev said
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DAVOS, January 23 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev disagreed with Europe’s position on the Third Energy Package as it calls for a revision of existing agreements.

“As for antimonopoly structures, we are not against different procedures if they occur by law, but we think the position on the Third Energy Package is wrong,” Medvedev told Bloomerg on Wednesday, January 23.

“Even if it pursues positive goals, it has a significant impact on existing ties and means a rejection of current agreements,” Medvedev said, adding that Russia thinks this is a violation.

President Vladimir Putin said earlier he was hopeful that a compromise on the EU Third 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.

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 Third 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 Third 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,” presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said earlier.

According to the European Commission, the Third Energy Package should promote competition in the EU energy market and push energy prices down in Europe.

One of its most controversial provisions demands that all energy transit infrastructure be handed over to autonomous operators independent from energy generating and mineral producing companies.

Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said that the enforcement of this provision has “basically led to nationalisation of pipelines in some East European countries”.

As for the WTO, European Commission for Trade Karel De Gucht, speaking in the European Parliament in early December, accused Russia of failure to fulfill its obligations within the WTO. Among trade problems between Russia and the EU, he named specifically increased duties on imported motor vehicles and a ban on the import to Russia of certain kinds of cattle from EU countries that do not meet Russia’s overstated veterinary requirements.

Disagreements between Russia and the EU over the Third Energy Package and compliance with their foreign trade obligations after Russia’s admission to the WTO were key issues to discuss at the Russia-EU summit on December 21, 2012.

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