11:43 18 Jul 2022

European Commission President heads to Baku for gas deal

The President of the European Commission is flying to Baku on Monday, July 18, during which she plans to talk, in particular, about larger supplies of natural gas.

Reuters reported this.

"Amid russia's continued weaponization of its energy supplies, diversification of our energy imports is a priority for the EU. 

President von der Leyen and (Energy) Commissioner Kadri Simson will be tomorrow in Azerbaijan to further strengthen the EU-Azerbaijan cooperation," the European Commission reported on Twitter.

In the document draft reviewed by the Reuters journalists on July 14, the European Commission offers member countries an agreement with Azerbaijan to increase natural gas imports to at least 20 billion cubic meters annually. EU governments have already agreed on a gradual oil embargo on russia.

Meanwhile, russian gas transit via Poland has stopped this year, and gas shipments via Ukraine have been curtailed by russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine. Germany, the world's fourth-biggest economy, is preparing for all scenarios, including a complete stop to russian gas supplies even once a regular 10-day maintenance period on the giant Nord Stream 1 pipeline is set to end later this week.

The European Commission said in a press release announcing the visit: 

"Southern Gas Corridor has a central role to play in the EU's natural gas supply, in particular for South Eastern Europe. The EU and Azerbaijan are also working together to build a long-term partnership on clean energy and energy efficiency, as both parties pursue their green transition and the objectives of the Paris Agreement."

The statement added that the EU and Azerbaijan were negotiating a new comprehensive agreement, allowing for enhanced cooperation in many areas, including economic diversification, investment, trade, and full use of civil society's potential. 

President von der Leyen and Commissioner Simson will meet with President Ilham Aliyev upon arrival. President von der Leyen will hold a joint press point following the meeting with President Aliyev. Commissioner Simson will subsequently have an EU-Azeri energy dialogue with the Azeri Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov.

On July 15, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, confirmed that Baku was preparing to sign a document with the EU in the field of energy security in the coming days.

Read Rubryka's daily timeline of war: current news on Ukraine's defense against russia's aggression.

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