Trilateral gas talks between Russia, the European Union and Ukraine will take place on January 21 in Brussels, Vice President of the European Commission (EC) Maros Sefcovic said on Wednesday.
“Pleased that the 2nd round of political trilateral talks with Russia and Ukraine on the long-term transit of gas to Europe will take place in Brussels on January 21,” the official said.
The forthcoming meeting will be based on results of previous talks held by the parties at different levels, Sefcovic noted. “The meeting will build on the progress achieved during previous political and expert rounds,” he said.
The prospects of gas transit through Ukraine after the contract with Russia will be a top-priority issue at the Russia-Ukraine-EU ministerial gas talks, Russian Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told TASS earlier.
According to the Russian envoy, the significance of these negotiations is somewhat weakened by the fact that the presidential election is due to be held in Ukraine in early spring, while pan-European elections will be held in May 2019, which will result in the change of the European Commission’s composition and a shift in the leadership of all other European institutions.
In early December, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak stressed that the date of the expert meeting on gas between Russia, Ukraine and the EU would be agreed on in the near future, after which the date of the trilateral gas negotiations would be set. The previous trilateral talks were held in July.
Plans had been in store that the next meeting would be held in October 2018, but it has been put off more than once since then. In mid-December, the European Commission suggested holding that meeting during the second half of January.
Contracts for the supply and transit of Russian gas through Ukraine will expire in late 2019. The issue of continuing the transit after 2019 has been discussed, particularly in light of the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will bypass transit countries.