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Leading European expert advises West to maintain stable gas relations with Russia

September 18, 2014, 13:30 UTC+3 BERLIN
Russia has so far been doing its utmost to remain a predictable provider of gas for the European Union, director of the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security Friedbert Pfluger says
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© ITAR-TASS/ЕРА/SERGEI KOZLOV

BERLIN, September 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Against the backdrop of the crisis in Ukraine and the approaching winter season, Europe should be interested in stable gas supplies from Russia, but the war of sanctions the West started just recently by no means helps achieve this goal, the director of the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (ECERS) Friedbert Pfluger says in an article in Thursday’s edition of the German daily Handelsblatt.

He believes that the Russian government has so far been doing its utmost to remain a predictable provider of gas for the European Union. “The rumors Poland is getting less gas than it should under contract has been refuted by all parties. On the contrary, Russia supplies more gas to Poland even though it is aware that part of it will be re-exported to Ukraine,” Pfluger said.

“There is every indication that stable gas trade is important to Russia and we should be very interested to keep it this way,” Pfluger said. “It is pretty clear at this point that Ukraine will have a gas shortfall this winter. Kiev hopes the EU will be ready to help. But what will other countries entirely dependent on Russian gas, such as Finland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary, have to do?” Pfluger asked, making a clear hint that Brussels should extend a helping hand to those countries which are full-fledged members of the EU.

He acknowledges that building up the import of liquefied gas was a possibility, but the price of it would be much higher and not all countries would be able to afford it.

The ECERS chief recalled that Russia remained Europe’s neighbor and partner in many respects.

“Russia’s UN Security Council membership, natural resources and nuclear weapons are the attributes of a great power,” Pfluger said, adding that neither the Ukrainian crisis nor the problem of international terrorism could be countered without Moscow playing a significant role. “However critical the West may be of Russia’s foreign policy, it should straighten out relations with Moscow, and not whip up the spiral of sanctions,” Pfluger believes.

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