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EU should buy gas jointly from Russia: Polish PM


Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk proposed Wednesday that the EU should buy gas from Russia as a bloc to prevent Moscow from using energy supplies as a political tool.

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"If the EU as a whole decided that we will buy gas and then divide it according to the needs of each European country, then no-one, including Russia, could disregard such a customer that buys such a gigantic amount of gas," Tusk said in an interview with Polish Radio.

Russia supplies about 30% of Europe's natural gas and countries in central and eastern Europe are more dependent on those supplies. Last year Poland bought 60% of its gas needs from Gazprom.

Later on Wednesday Tusk will hold talks in Warsaw with German chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss ways to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian gas in the light of the crisis in Ukraine.

On Monday Tusk said the EU needs to build a fully sovereign, fully independent energy policy. "Germany's reliance on Russian gas can effectively limit European sovereignty. I have no doubt," he said.

Tusk said that thanks to the construction of a 5 billion cubic meter/year LNG terminal in the port of Swinoujscie near the German border, which is scheduled to start receiving shipments from Qatar next year and increased capacity of the interconnectors with Germany and the Czech Republic, Poland is now in a much better negotiating position when it comes to renewing its long-term gas supply contract with Gazprom.

--Adam Easton,
--Edited by Jonathan Fox,