Fredrik Reinfeld, the Swedish prime minister whose country currently holds the EU presidency, said: "We asked all those engaged to solve their bilateral problems and to be predictable as a supplier of energy."

Gazprom said on Friday that Ukraine had paid its gas bill for November on time, easing fears of a repeat of the crisis.

Europe receives around 20 per cent of its gas from Russia, most of it via pipelines that cross Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, agreed to revise the terms of a contract between Russia and Ukraine at a meeting last month with Yulia Tymoshenko, his Ukrainian counterpart, lowering the amount of gas Kiev must buy next year.

The move came as a relief for Ukraine, which has been hit hard by the global economic crisis and has drastically cut its gas consumption.