On 20 March, the European Commission hosted the inaugural meeting of the trilateral talks with Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the follow up to the Winter Package. Vice President Maroš Šefcovic chaired the talks, which brought together the Minister for Energy of the Russian Federation, Alexander Novak, and the Ukrainian Minister for Energy and Coal Industries, Vladimir Demchyshyn. The Winter Package on gas supplies to Ukraine signed between the three sides on 30 October 2014 ends on 31 March 2015.
At the end of the talks, Vice President Šefcovic said: "We have held a constructive first meeting on the follow up to the Winter Package. I am happy that the parties were able to agree on a joint statement and on the steps forward. On this basis we can work towards a bridging agreement until the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal settles the disputed issues. I am also reassured that the transit gas flows to the EU will remain unaffected."
High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini added: "I welcome that this trilateral meeting on gas supplies to Ukraine has taken place, as called for also by the Declaration in support of the Minsk Agreements on 12 February. I hope an agreement acceptable to both sides can be found soon, which may contribute to reducing the existing tensions in the energy relations between the two countries."
The parties agreed that preparations for the supply for the next winter have to start now. To this effect, the parties agreed that a group of experts should start working on the details. The working group will present a draft proposal for the next trilateral meeting, which is expected to be held in April 2015.
Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling
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