Russian president Vladimir Putin has sought to allay European fears over energy supplies at a summit in Finland but fell short of signing any agreement. Putin, who faces growing pressure at home and abroad over tensions with neighbouring Georgia and the recent murder of a journalist, said he was confident Europe and Russia would find a common approach on energy trade. “The leaders of Russia and the EU have once again confirmed that energy cooperation should be based on the principles of the stability of the energy market,” he said.
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso echoed Putin’s comments: “I think we should not allow energy to divide EU and Russia as communism once did.” The European Union, which relies on Russia for one quarter of its gas imports, has expressed concerns over Moscow’s reliability and wants Putin to implement a legally binding charter.
But the Russian president refused to commit saying the deal needs further work. He did however agree that Russia’ energy relationship with the EU should be based on reciprocity. Also high on the agenda was Moscow’s human rights record amid escalating tension with Georgia and Moscow’s military campaign in Chechnya.