Russia, the European Union and Ukraine will hold trilateral gas consultations at the ministerial level on December 19 in Berlin, press service of the European Commission (EC) said on Wednesday.
"On Thursday, 19 December, the next round of trilateral talks at political level with Russia and Ukraine on the long-term transit of gas through Ukraine post-2019 is taking place in Berlin. The talks will center around a political agreement covering duration, volumes and tariffs of a future transit contract, as well as arbitration," the EC says in a statement.
The next round of talks will be chaired by former EC Vice President Maros Sefcovic, the EC notes. "The time is high to send a positive message to markets and consumers," Sefcovic said, cited by the press service, TASS reports.
Sefcovic "will also hold a bilateral meeting with German Economy and Energy Minister, Peter Altmaier" prior to trilateral talks, the EC adds.
The current contracts between Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz on gas supplies and transit via Ukraine expire on December 31, 2019. Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission continue consultations on transit of Russian gas to the European Union via Ukraine starting 2020, but the dialogue is being complicated by the legal wrangling between Gazprom and Naftogaz.
Moscow insists on the so-called "package solution" when the parties are to drop mutual claims and sign a contract on direct gas purchase at a discounted price. As a fallback option, Russia suggests the current transit contract be extended to 2020.