• Germany's news in English

Merkel and Putin discuss gas 'test phase'

AFP · 16 Jan 2009, 20:47

Published: 16 Jan 2009 20:47 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"I spoke today with these companies, and I think there is a way, together with the companies (Russian) Gazprom and (Ukrainian) Naftogaz, to start a test phase," to resume gas imports to Europe via Ukraine, Merkel said.

This would be a "regime in which gas supplies to western Europe and the Balkans will be made possible again, and at the same time ensure that gas that Gazprom intends for Europe does not somehow disappear in Ukraine," she told a joint news conference with Putin in Berlin.

Merkel said the test, helped by European Union observers already in place in Russia as well as Ukraine, should be "implemented quickly."

"I call for this way towards a test phase to be tried because time is pressing," Merkel said. "I hope that with this way now, we can move towards a regime in which Europe again receives its gas. I am very pleased that companies in Germany are also showing their readiness, ... along with Gaz de France [GDF Suez], ENI and Gazprom, to find a feasible solution."

Putin, for his part, said: "There are details which should be worked out at the corporate level. I think it can be done."

He added it would be "right and sensible" to create a group of international experts to check "the technical state of the gas transit system of Ukraine and determine the most optimal routes for our gas exports and ensure us and our consumers against unending theft."

Before meeting Merkel, Putin met top executives from European gas firms including Germany's EON Ruhrgas, Italy's ENI, France's GDF Suez and Wingas - a joint venture between Gazprom and Germany's BASF Wintershall - to discuss his idea to create a consortium to transit gas through Ukraine.

Story continues below…

ENI's chief executive Paolo Scaroni said before the get-together in a plush Berlin hotel the firms would put together a specific proposal "within the next few hours."

The purpose of the consortium, say Russian officials, is to resolve the fraught issue of so-called "technical gas" - gas that is not delivered to consumers but is used to maintain pipeline pressure and keep supplies flowing.

Russian news agencies meanwhile cited Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin as saying that gas firms including Russia's Gazprom had agreed to form the consortium.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd