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France - Poland - Russia

Alternatives to Russian gas in the pipeline for Europe

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk REUTERS/Slawomir Kaminski/Agencja Gazeta

France and Poland submitted a proposal on Thursday to create a European energy community in a bid to cut dependence on Russian gas.

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French President Francois Hollande said in a joint statement with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk that the plan aims to make “Europe more independent, more coherent, more cooperative in its energy policy.”

The plan, which has emerged during ongoing turmoil in Ukraine, consists of six points to convince all EU members to support and join a “European energy community”.

The name of group is a reference to the Coal and Steel Community of the European Economic Community, which preceded the EU.

Russian gas is delivered to the EU via several routes, the bulk of which is on Ukraine’s pipelines, and accounts for about one quarter of its gas supply.

Ukraine is almost entirely dependent on Russia’s supply and was billed billions of dollars on Thursday for not importing the full agreed amount of gas in 2013 from its state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom.

Tusk said it is vital that the EU invests in new infrastructure that would connect all 28 members to a network of gas pipelines, and also explore new sources of energy.

He also raised the possibility of the EU buying liquefied gas from the United States or from Australia, stressing that should be explored very soon.

The proposal will be discussed at a European summit on energy policy in June.

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