As the gas dispute worsened, with supplies of Russian gas to the EU via Ukraine (not Belarus or other routes) being fully cut to most European countries, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso spoke, on the morning of 7 January, to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as well as Ukraine PM Yulia Tymoshenko. Barroso urged both of them to restore full gas supplies to the EU immediately. Additionaly, he noted that it is "unacceptable" that the EU's gas supply security is being taken "hostage" to negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. The two countries' reputation as reliable partners to the EU is at stake, said Barroso. He finally called for Ukraine and Russia to find a stable and long-term solution to guarantee reliable gas supplies to the EU.

The gas dispute formed a central issue at the 7 January meeting between the Czech government and the European Commission. Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek promised a "tough" response if supplies were not back by 8 January. Topolanek, however, did not say what actions the EU could take against the two countries. Contradicting the Commission, Topolanek noted that the dispute had a clearly "political" dimension.


There is limited room for manoeuvre and the EU still appears to be at the stage of analysing its options. Experts in the Gas Coordination Group meet in Brussels, on 9 January. Gazprom and Naftogas representatives have been invited, whilst member state experts analyse the situation in the afternoon. The Commission's energy spokesperson noted that the EU is "open" to the possibility of sending observers "if this is going to help the restoration of full supplies to the EU". The spokesperson, however, refused to say which of the two countries, or both, is responsible for the gas cuts.

Council Directive 2004/67/EC of 26 April 2004 lays out measures to safeguard security of natural gas supply. For the purpose of the directive, a "major supply disruption" is when the Community risks losing more than 20% of its gas supply from third countries and the situation at Community level is not likely to be adequately managed with national measures. Unfortunately, the directive only provides rules that "should" be applicable in the event of a major supply disruption of "a...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT