Europe Ready for Gas Curbs, Paet Says
Europe is ready for a cut in gas supplies through Europe, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said on Tuesday.
Paet met with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, with discussions focusing on Ukraine and Russia, ETV reported on Tuesday.
Commenting on the possibility of a third round of EU sanctions on Russia, Steinmeier said that the EU tries to avoid them as long as a political solution is still possible.
After Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine due to the escalation of a price row, Paet said that Europe is essentially prepared for a cut in supplies.
“The threat has always been there. Some years ago, Europe unfortunately also witnessed it. Certainly Russia is not Europe’s only gas supplier - there are others, and new connections between European states have been added. At the same time it is clear that Russia needs a market for its gas,” Paet said.
Russia and Ukraine has had several gas disputes over the last decade, the most serious in 2008-09 affected several countries, most of all Bulgaria, Moldova and Slovakia, but also prompting the United Kingdom to make preparations for using its gas reserves. The crisis continued throughout 2009, with Slovakia announcing in December that Russia had threatened to cut supplies through Ukraine to Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic.