U.S., EU Aim to Cut Europe's Reliance on Russian Energy
By Carol E. Lee And Matthew Dalton
Updated March 26, 2014 12:36 p.m. ET
BRUSSELS—The U.S. and the European Union agreed Wednesday to pursue ways to reduce Europe's dependency on Russian energy in the wake of Moscow's incursion into Ukraine, and vowed to complete a trade agreement they said would ease the flow of natural-gas exports to Europe.
After a meeting that lasted nearly two hours, U.S. President Barack Obama and the leaders of the EU, Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso, said they reaffirmed their threats to pressure Russia with economic sanctions, but also pinpointed energy as a new central focus of their efforts to isolate Moscow.
"This entire event has pointed to the need for Europe to look at how it can diversify its energy sources," Mr. Obama said.
He confirmed the trade deal would ease exports of liquefied natural gas to Europe, one the EU's main goals in the trade talks, by smoothing the way for export licenses to U.S. firms. The leaders said officials from the U.S. and Europe would meet next week to figure out how to reduce Europe's vulnerability to Russian energy supplies.
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