BRUSSELS -- The European Union and the United States meet April 2 to discuss energy cooperation, notably how to help Ukraine meet its energy needs and repay its sizable gas debt with Russia.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will attend the talks, which will come under the framework of the EU-US Energy Council, established in 2009 to foster transatlantic cooperation in the energy industry.
A source close to the talks said the situation in Ukraine was "a big thorn in the side" for the EU and the U.S., with concerns that the troubled eastern European country was now dipping into its reserves.
The EU has committed 1.6 billion euros of assistance to Ukraine, and the U.S. and Japan have earmarked 1 billion euros each.
The EU has also vowed to help Ukraine with gas supplies if supplies from Russia are interrupted. It could do that by reversing the flow of gas in a number of pipelines.
Oettinger said 2 billion cubic meters of gas could be sent to Ukraine through pipelines in Poland and Hungary.
Pipelines from Slovakia could add between 3 billion and 8 billion cubic meters by the end of the year, he added.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014