MOSCOW: EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs called on Monday for ‘mutual trust’ in energy relations with Russia at the start of an EU-Russia energy conference in Moscow. Russia and the EU should work to “reinforce mutual trust in the energy sector,” Piebalgs said “There is some work to be done on building up mutual confidence.”

The EU depends on Russia for around a quarter of its natural gas imports, and that proportion is rapidly increasing. Russia’s budget also depends on revenues from European energy sales.

Russian state gas monopoly Gazprom is moving aggressively to gain greater access to Europe’s downstream energy retail market and has complained of unfair treatment from wary European regulators. European officials say Russia must provide a better climate for foreign investors in its energy sector and liberalise its energy infrastructure.