The European Union (EU) and their member states are ready for talks with Russian Federation and Ukraine on security of gas supply and transit, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso Thursday said in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"The European Union agrees on your proposal for consultations with the Russian Federation and Ukraine with regard to security of gas supply and transit," wrote Barroso in his reply to a letter by Putin dated April 10.
As supplies to the European Union and supplies to Ukraine are closely related, Barroso said, "it is our common interest to quickly engage in talks which will include Ukraine."
Barroso said the proposed consultations should help to avoid an extreme scenario and safeguard security of supply and transit, "While at the same time creating the necessary conditions for a structured cooperation including notably the modernization of Ukraine's gas transit system."
As Putin warned of the possibility to completely or partially cease gas deliveries in his letter, Barroso "strongly" urged Putin to "refrain" from such measures, saying the "contractual reliability" of the Russia as a supplier of gas "is at stake".
"We reiterate that changes to contractual arrangements due to political circumstances run counter to the spirit of support and cooperation enshrined in your letter," wrote Barroso's letter, which was published online.
Barroso said that the EU's Commissioner for Energy stands ready to contact his counterparts to organize a first meeting.