EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on 13 November will discuss building closer economic ties with Russia but their efforts could face a veto from Warsaw, which wants a tougher line taken with Moscow over energy.
A ten-year old Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) is being re-negotiated as the EU and Russia prepare to meet for a 24 November summit in Helsinki.
Failure to reach an agreement on the Energy Charter Treaty, which Russia seems to have definitely refused to ratify, has prompted the EU to seek incorporating the Charter's principles into the broader PCA. The principles include granting mutual access to energy markets and minimum guarantees for energy investments and transit.
But Wozniak insists that Russia signs the Transit Protocol of the Energy Charter, which is the most controversial part for Moscow. "We feel very unsafe in terms of energy supplies," Polish Economy Minister Piotr Wozniak told reporters on 10 November.
On a visit to Moscow on 30 October, Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs tried to find common ground. "We understand that the Russian Federation needs the predictability and certainty brought by the EU market as well as the huge new investments that European companies can bring," Piebalgs said. "The EU, on the other hand, needs the transparency and certainty that those investments will be made."
"There is a need for a level playing field in terms of market access and access to infrastructure, including non-discriminatory third-party access to pipelines in both Russia and the EU," Piebalgs added.
Russia accounts for some 44% of EU gas imports (25% of total consumption) and is the EU's single largest external supplier of oil, standing at 30% of total imports (27% of total consumption). These shares are expected to grow as the EU's North Sea reserves decline.