Polish Prime Minister E. Kopacz speaks during a press conference with the French President following their meeting in Paris.(Jan. 30, 2015.)
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The European Union energy commissioner and Polish leaders discussed on Monday plans for an EU energy union aimed at greater security at a time of troubled ties with major gas supplier Russia.
Poland, dependent on Russia for some 60 percent of its gas, is urging greater EU energy security through steps like joint gas purchases, sharing of resources and lesser dependence on imports. The proposals have gained urgency amid tensions in ties with Russia over its role in the conflict in Ukraine, a gas transit country.
The EU's Maros Sefcovic met in Warsaw with Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and her deputy, Janusz Piechocinski. The European Commission is to publish details of the plan on Feb. 25.
Sefcovic said the EU is seeking "voluntary solutions" that would ensure collective security at times of crisis or market disturbances. He did not elaborate, but Poland has been pushing for EU states to help fellow members hit by problems.
He noted, however, that Central and Eastern European countries — largely dependent on Russian imports and having had some "bad experience" — are keener on the plan than Western EU members, who have seen no market disturbance and are paying lower import prices.
Russia has on occasion threatened to or cut gas deliveries amid price disputes with Ukraine, while Western European countries can fall back on their own gas, oil and renewable energy sources.
Meanwhile, Chevron announced it will no longer explore for shale gas in Poland, a fresh blow to the country's plans to diversify its energy sources. A number of other companies have previously pulled out of shale gas projects in Poland.