Poland premier urges EU energy union

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Poland has urged the European Union to create an energy union to end the “excessive” EU dependence on supplies of natural gas from Russia.

In an article published in the Financial Times on Monday, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk wrote that the European Union must create an energy union to secure its gas supply because the current dependence on Russian energy makes Europe weak.

“Regardless of how the stand-off over Ukraine develops, one lesson is clear: excessive dependence on Russian energy makes Europe weak,” Tusk wrote.

The premier added that the EU energy union, if created, should be based on several elements, including the creation of a single European body that would buy gas for the whole bloc.

“Today, at least 10 EU member states depend on a single supplier – Gazprom – for more than half of their consumption. Some are wholly dependent on Russia’s state-controlled gas giant,” Tusk stated.

Meanwhile, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger warned that the 28-nation bloc should not cut or decrease gas relations with Russia due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

The remarks came after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Europe cannot reduce cooperation on gas delivery issues with Russia without harming its own economic interests.

Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom said earlier this month that it was increasing price of gas exports to Ukraine by more than a third.

The energy company also stated that it would scrap a previous discount, and that Ukraine owes the company USD 1.70 billion (1.24 billion euros) in unpaid gas bills.

The incident marked the latest feud between Moscow and neighboring Kiev after Crimea separated from Ukraine and integrated into the Russia Federation following a referendum on March 16.

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