A European Union-EU-Ukraine summit was held in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, on Tuesday, where President Volodymyr Zelensky met with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Urzula von der Leien.
This time the summit is taking place at a time when significant increases in gas prices are having a negative impact on European consumers and natural gas reserves are dwindling. For this reason, although various issues were discussed during the summit, the focus was on the natural gas crisis.
The pipeline built by Russia is detrimental to Ukraine’s interests
During the summit, Kiev reiterated its concerns about energy security. The reason for this was the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, criticized by Ukrainian President Zelensky, which is still awaiting approval from the German regulator.
The pipeline is expected to divert gas supplies from the existing route through Ukraine, which could cost Ukraine a billion euros a year in transit fees from Russia.
Leiena and Michel tried to reassure Zelensky, stressing that Europe would guarantee Ukraine’s role as a gas transit country.
Leiena expressed Ukraine’s concerns about gas supplies and acknowledged that various scenarios were being considered to ensure sufficient supplies to Ukraine.
“I understand Ukraine’s concerns about gas supplies, and this is not just a question this winter, but also next winter. That is why the European Commission, together with Ukrainian experts, is developing various scenarios to ensure a sufficient supply, ”the President of the European Commission emphasized.
“We will also work closely together to increase gas supplies from Member States, which includes working on a flow agreement also from the Slovak pipeline. We are also exploring opportunities for shared storage. It is clear from the Commission that Ukraine is and must remain a reliable transit country. “
European support for the unity of Ukraine
Ukraine and the European Union have agreed to set up a high-level working group to accelerate electricity and gas market reforms. Leiena added that the parties have also discussed energy efficiency measures and their expansion, so that Ukraine would no longer have to import gas, but it would be self-sufficient.
In addition to promises to ensure Ukraine’s energy security, European Union leaders have stated that the European Union is a strong supporter of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The European Union has also reiterated its support for the implementation of the Minsk agreement. Leiena explained that the European Union supports the conflict-affected communities in Eastern Ukraine with various forms of assistance and investment.
The fight against corruption needs to be stepped up
Europe has repeatedly called on Kiev to step up its efforts to fight corruption and reform the judiciary. Reforms were also one of the topics at this summit. As stated in the joint statement following the summit, the European Union is aware of Ukraine’s significant progress in the reform process and leaders have agreed on the need to further intensify these efforts.
The EU also emphasizes the need for Ukraine to continue its efforts to ensure the independent and effective functioning of anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies, including through a depoliticised senior selection process.
The parties also signed a long-awaited “open skies” agreement during the summit, which, according to the European Union, should mean the arrival of new low-cost airlines in Ukraine, which could attract more tourists.
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