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Barroso Calls up Intl Meeting over Fears of New Russia-Ukraine Gas Crisis

Sofia Weekly – The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, declared Friday he feared Europe might face a new Russia-Ukraine natural gas crisis within weeks.

During the second day of the European Council Summit in Brussels, Barroso expressed his concern that the delay of payments for Russian natural gas supplies on part of the Ukraine was likely to lead to a situation like the one in January 2009 when a Russian-Ukrainian dispute led to a cutoff of Russian gas supplies for much of Europe, BGNES reported.

Barroso announced that the European Commission was going to host next week an international meeting of European gas companies, member states, and international financial institutions in order to help rectify the situation by figuring out a way to help the Ukraine pay for the natural gas it receives from Russia as well as to discuss new energy projects.

“We need to protect the European citizens”, the EC President told journalists after the end of the European Council Summit.

The Ukraine is badly affected by the global economic crisis, and had to ask the EU for help with a USD 4,2 B loan in order to be able to pay off its debts to Gazprom.

Over 80% of Russian natural gas supplies for EU and other European states are transited through the Ukraine.

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