There was no progress on the Ukrainian gas-transit system but reverse flow helped to diversify Ukrainian energy supply from Russia.
In 2013, Eastern Partnership countries somewhat half-heartedly tried bring their energy regulation into line with that of the EU in order to enter the European energy market. In January, Georgia applied for full membership of the Energy Community (EC), but it needs first of all to bring its legal framework on energy efficiency and renewable energy in line with EC legislation. Ukraine, which has been a member of the EC since 2009, was criticised for a lack of progress and co-operation in areas such as environmental issues and energy efficiency. Above all, its failure to liberalise its gas and energy market has hindered much-needed investments in Ukraine’s energy infrastructure; doing so could help to limit its dependence on Russian gas imports. While Moldova adopted a new energy strategy and an energy efficiency plan, it is still lagging behind on environmental issues and the regulation of the gas market.
Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle raised concerns that Russia might misuse energy pricing to dissuade Eastern Partnership countries, in particular Moldova and Ukraine, from signing agreements with the EU. The Commission supported the modernisation of the Ukrainian gas transmission system and stressed the need for Ukraine to continue to develop its energy sector in line with the commitments it has made as a member of the EC. No progress was made regarding a trilateral consortium from the EU, Russia, and Ukraine to manage Ukraine’s gas-transit system. The European Commission is still waiting for a proposal from Ukraine.
Among EU member states, Estonia and Slovakia made particular efforts in 2013 to help Eastern Partnership countries reduce their dependence on Russia. Estonia made some progress in the decision to build a small regional liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to reduce dependency on Gazprom and forced its national gas company (which is partly owned by Gazprom) to divest ownership of gas pipelines. Slovakia and Poland offered reverse flow to Ukraine, and Slovakia invested in the modernisation of the technical infrastructure on the Ukrainian border.