Europe’s winter of discontent

A hurried resolution to the Ukraine-Russia gas war was reached during a visit to Moscow by Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko to meet with her Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin this week. Ukraine finally agreed to pay higher European prices for Russian gas in 2010, after a 20 percent discount in 2009.

This accord came in the wake of sharp criticism of Ukraine by European leaders and Putin’s first official visit to Germany as prime minister, where he presented a more ambitious long-term solution to the unending troubles with Ukraine that have left European countries without winter fuel more than once. His proposal involves leading European energy companies forming a consortium with Russia’s Gazprom to ensure that Russian supplies reach their destination.

“Trust has been damaged,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the talks, without specifying who was to blame. “We hope this idea of a consortium has a chance in succeeding.”

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