EU says Belarus deal secures gas supply

4th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

5 January 2007, Brussels (dpa) - The European Union on Thursday said that a last-minute deal between Russia and Belarus on gas pricing will help secure the EU's natural gas supplies through the winter. However, EU energy experts stressed that strong co-operation between the bloc's 27 member states was needed to prevent supply threats such as the recent Russian-Belarus gas dispute. Because of currently high gas reserves and the mild winter measures taken by EU member states so far "are appropriate to ensure

5 January 2007

Brussels (dpa) - The European Union on Thursday said that a last-minute deal between Russia and Belarus on gas pricing will help secure the EU's natural gas supplies through the winter.

However, EU energy experts stressed that strong co-operation between the bloc's 27 member states was needed to prevent supply threats such as the recent Russian-Belarus gas dispute.

Because of currently high gas reserves and the mild winter measures taken by EU member states so far "are appropriate to ensure security of (gas) supply," the experts said in a statement.

Some 20 per cent of Russian gas imports in the EU transit through Belarus, mainly to Poland, Germany and Lithuania.

Imports of Russian gas currently account for 24 per cent of the EU's foreign gas supplies.

Concerns about the EU's dependence on Russian gas rose to the top of the bloc's agenda at the start of 2006 when a decision by Moscow to temporarily cut off supplies to Ukraine also caused delivery disruptions in many parts of Western Europe.

The Belarus-Russian agreement signed last week ended months of wrangling between Minsk and the Kremlin, and was a clear-cut victory for Gazprom's strategy of high-pressure price tactics against former Soviet republics.

Europe is increasingly concernd about Russia's use of its vast energy resources as a political tool.

"A secure and predictable energy supply is a must for the European economy and a right for European citizens," said EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

The commission, the bloc's executive arm, is expected next week to present a major package of new initiatives in the field of energy.

With global competition for energy sources becoming ever fiercer, the EU's top policy makers have vowed to make access to secure oil and gas supplies a top priority of the bloc's foreign policy.

Recent plans say the energy-hungry bloc must work on an array of diplomatic fronts to meet its growing energy needs.

DPA

Subject: German news

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