TYCHY, Poland, March 29 Polish Prime Minister
Donald Tusk said on Saturday the European Union should form an
energy union to bolster its energy security and lessen its
dependence on key gas supplier Russia whose annexation of Crimea
has caused a tense stand-off with the West.
Russia, which provides around one third of the EU's oil and
gas, sent shockwaves through the international community with
its military intervention and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea
peninsula two weeks ago.
The action prompted the United States and its European
allies to begin imposing sanctions on President Vladimir Putin's
inner circle and to threaten to penalise key sectors of Russia's
Some 40 percent of Russia's gas destined for Europe is
shipped through Ukraine.
"The experience of the last few weeks shows that Europe must
strive towards solidarity when it comes to energy," Tusk said.
He said Poland's proposed energy union would be based on six
points including the "rehabilitation" of coal as a valid energy
source, more shale gas exploration and common purchases to
ensure the best price.
Liquid gas imports from the United States should also play a
role in Europe's energy diversification efforts, he said.
Since Russia's annexation of Crimea, European leaders have
already agreed to accelerate their quest for more secure energy
supplies and reduce dependence on Russian oil and
The EU has made progress in improving its energy security
since gas crises in 2006 and 2009, when rows over unpaid bills
between Kiev and Moscow led to the disruption of gas exports to
western Europe. However, it has not yet managed to reduce
Russia's share of European energy supplies.
(Reporting by Wojciech Zurawski; Writing by Karolina
Slowikowska; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)