* Polish PM Tusk calls for change in EU energy policy
* Says will discuss this with Merkel on Wednesday
* Dependence on Russian gas cannot paralyse Europe - Tusk
WARSAW, March 10 Poland's prime minister said on
Monday he would ask Chancellor Angela Merkel to work to reduce
German and European dependence on Russian gas to avert
"potential aggressive steps by Russia in the future".
Merkel will visit Poland on Wednesday to discuss the crisis
in Ukraine, where Russia has effectively taken control of the
southern Crimean peninsula. Events there have highlighted
European reliance on Russian oil and gas.
Ukraine is a major gas transit nation for supplies from
Russia to the European Union (EU), which relies on Russia for
over a quarter of its gas.
"Germany's dependence on Russian gas may effectively
decrease Europe's sovereignty. I have no doubts about that,"
Prime Minister Donald Tusk told a news conference.
"Increasingly more expensive energy in Europe due to
exorbitant climate and environmental ambitions may also mean
greater dependence in Russian energy sources...Hence, I will
talk (to Merkel) primarily about how Germany is able to correct
some economic actions so that dependence on Russian gas doesn't
paralyse Europe when it needs...a decisive stance."
Germany has been one of the strongest proponents of
increasing the share of renewable energy sources in Europe.
Poland gets nearly all its energy from domestically produced
coal and has opposed these efforts in the past.
"The question of Ukraine is a question of EU's future, EU's
safety, and a correction of EU's energy policy," Tusk said.
"We will not be able to efficiently fend off potential
aggressive steps by Russia in the future, if so many European
countries are dependent on Russian gas deliveries or wade into
such dependence," he added.
Poland is the largest central European economy and has played
a role in diplomatic efforts of the European Union in the worst
stand-off between the West and Russia since the end of the Cold
Four central European countries have already asked the U.S.
Congress to make it easier for them to import natural gas from
the United States and reduce their dependence on supplies from
Last year, Russia's gas export giant Gazprom
supplied EU and Turkey with a record 162 billion cubic metres of
gas, of which 86 bcm went via Ukraine.
Gazprom issued a veiled warning last week that it could stop
shipping gas to Ukraine over unpaid bills, bringing to mind a
brief disruption in deliveries during a dispute between Russia
and Ukraine during a cold winter in 2009.
European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said he did
not expect Russia to switch off gas supplies to Europe over the
Ukraine crisis. If no more gas flowed through Ukraine, it would
affect 14 percent of European gas consumption, he added.
(Reporting by Adrian Krajewski; Editing by Marcin Goettig and