Thu, January 15, 2009
World > Europe > Russia-Ukraine gas row

EU threatens legal action over gas

2009-01-15 06:40:18 GMT2009-01-15 14:40:18 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

After diplomacy come threats of legal action.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso says the European Union will get tough on Russia and Ukraine if Europe doesn't start receiving gas from Russia via Ukraine soon.

SOUNDBITE: Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission President, saying (English):

''I would like to convey a very clear message to Moscow and Kiev. If the agreement sponsored by the European Union is not honoured as a matter of urgency, the Commission will advise European companies to take this matter to the courts and call on member states to engage in a concertive actions to find alternative ways of energy supplies and transit.''

Barroso says legal action could be taken under contracts EU companies have with Russian gas monopoly Gazprom.

Russia turned the taps back on on Tuesday, to pump gas through Ukraine to Europe.

But over twenty four hours later, Europe says little or no gas is reaching the countries which have been left without Russian fuel for a week in the middle of winter.

With Russia and Ukraine still sparring over who is at fault, the Prime Ministers of two of the hardest hit countries, Slovakia and Bulgaria, flew to Kiev and Moscow to plead for gas.

But even if Europe's freezing countries get gas supplies again soon and the EU doesn't take legal action - this ongoing dispute has damaged both Russia and Ukraine's reputations as providers of energy to Europe.

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