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EU works toward common energy market

BRUSSELS, June 20 (UPI) -- European lawmakers backed legislation that would promote transparency among member states in the energy sector as part of a coordinated market.

The European Commission proposed transparency measures between EU members to coordinate action in the face of an energy emergency.

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Europe gets about 20 percent of its natural gas from Russia though roughly 80 percent of that runs through a transit network in Ukraine. Russian energy company Gazprom cut gas supplies to Ukraine in 2009 after contract disputes with Kiev, leaving downstream consumers in Europe in the cold for weeks.

Krisjanis Karins, a Latvian member of the European Parliament and chief negotiator on the legislation, said the rules provide transparency about EU energy deals.

"This is an important first step in moving toward a common EU energy policy, which is ultimately in the best interests of EU citizens and energy consumers," he was quoted by the Platts news service as saying.

The legislation aims to shield a single European market against bilateral deals made with governing bodies or industrial companies.

European leaders are pursuing a series of pipeline deals to break Russia's grip on the energy sector. Many of those rely on state-run companies in countries outside the eurozone.

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