Gazprom Board Chairman, European Union Leaders Ponder Russia-e.u. Energy Relations

Alexei Miller, president of the board of the OAO Gazprom company, and leaders of the European Union have discussed Russia-EU relations in the field of energy, RIA Novosti was told at the Gazprom press service on Thursday. Miller's visit to Brussels was held on December 18 through 19, 2001, on invitation from the European Commission. Gazprom stressed that the goal of the working meetings held there was to elaborate a mutually acceptable economic formula that would minimize risks for the energy security of Europe and prevent economic losses for gas producers, such as Russia, in the liberalisation of the European gas market. Miller explained to representatives of the European Commission the need of preserving the system of long-term contracts on the import of Russian gas to Europe and outlined specific problems which the European Union would face in case it cancels them, said the Gazprom press service. Miller voiced anxiety over the idea of implementing the EU gas directive without minding the gas producers' interests. Gazprom invited the European Commission to arrange round tables with the participation of the main suppliers of gas to the European market, representatives of the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, private lending institutions. The EU commissioner for competition proposed holding a meeting between Gazprom and EC experts. The meeting will be held in Moscow in the third decade of 2002 January.