“We don’t want to fight”. Deputy Chairman of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič talks about fair deals and gas dramas

Gas relations between Russia and Europe are passing through one of the most severe crises in the 40 years of their history. The European Union is going to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, while Gazprom tries to find alternative customers in Asia. Why Europe wants Energy Union and whether it is directed against Russia, how Brussels sees the future of gas cooperation with Russia and prospects of Turkish Stream – the Deputy Chairman of the Commission on the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič talks about all these.

- The EU leaders decided to support the creation of the Energy Union. The question, which concerns all in the gas industry: will the European Commission have the right to block contracts for the supply of gas, if it considers them a threat to the EU energy safety?

- The decision of the heads of states on the Energy Union is very important, because they supported the approach that applies not only to the energy security, but also a deep transformation of the EU in the energy sector. And it was very important for me that the European leaders supported all five areas of the strategy. If you look at the conclusions of the European Council, you will see that they clearly state: if we talk about the transparency of gas contracts, it should be applied to all contracts. All contracts must comply with the rules of transparency. Now we must offer a bill of how this will work in practice. We plan to amend two pieces of legislation. Firstly, \ the decision of the European Parliament for exchanging information on intergovernmental agreements in the energy sector (Decision №994/2012). We want to correct a mistake from the past, when the EC could speak, if these agreements correspond to the European legislation or not, only after they are signed.

You know from recent history that, when the contract is signed and ratified, it is very difficult to change it: it is a concern of all investors that don’t know what legal regime will be in force, and so on. We must also revise the directive on security of gas supply (Regulation №994 / 2010). Here we want to use the lessons of the last stress tests, which were conducted in preparation for last winter. We want to suggest a way how, on the one hand, to bring more transparency in the system of commercial contracts, at the same time to respecting trade secrets, and to take into account all very sensitive elements of the contracts. We know how to do it, because for many years we work with very sensitive commercial information - for example, with questions of mergers and acquisitions, or antitrust investigations. In addition, there is a decision of the European Court, which establishes clear conditions, how we must monitor these issues.

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