Nord Stream 2: European Union member States in the gas dispute

Frederick Owens
February 10, 2019

Eastern European, Nordic and Baltic Sea countries see the 1,225 km pipeline increasing EU reliance on Moscow, while those in northern Europe, especially Germany, prioritise the economic benefits.

"France intends to support the adoption of such a directive".

Today the European Union Council will vote on a directive meant to apply EU market rules to energy projects that start in a third country, like the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russian Federation.

The EU executive wants a say over how Nord Stream 2 is used before its construction, which involves European companies, is completed.

The German chancellor defended the controversial Nord Stream 2 project and argued that Berlin was already diversifying its energy resources with plans to purchase liquefied natural gas (LNG) from other countries.

The essence of the proposal of Germany and France is that the country with the point of gas intake from the offshore pipeline in its territory will acquire the right to select the formula for application of EU Gas Directive provisions and possible exceptions from it. Germany is such country in case of Nord Stream 2.

Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed the vote as an example of Berlin's close ties with Paris after the two major European powers, which both have firms invested in the project, were publicly at odds ahead of the EU meeting.

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The draft compromise reportedly addressed the concerns, saying: "We consider a (gas rules) directive in this spirit indispensable for a fruitful discussion on the future gas transit through Ukraine". The United States and many of its European allies, ...

Paris has settled on a compromise with Berlin, allowing Germany to remain the key negotiator with Russian Federation on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe. The pipeline project will be on the line until the legislation passes.

"Cancelling the project would send a clear signal that Moscow can not get away unscathed with its aggression against neighbouring states [Ukraine], and its meddling in our democracies", they added, referring to accusations that Russian Federation had attacked USA and French and German elections in recent years.

The route of Nord Stream 2 bypasses Ukraine, thus robbing it of transit fees and making Germany western Europe's main distribution hub. In the case of Nord stream - 2 that country is Germany.

On the other side, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia strongly oppose Nord Stream 2, mostly for geopolitical reasons.

Although Chancellor Merkel has always been a proponent of the pipeline, not everyone in Germany shares her enthusiasm. However, in November 2018, only 69 out of 751 Members of the European Parliament signed a letter against Nord Stream-2. Norbert Röttgen, a member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) and head of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, told the German newspaper Tagesspiegel that Germany has "isolated" itself on the issue.

The German company Uniper said it was "fully committed" to the planed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, despite "a very bad feeling" about U.S. sanctions against Russian Federation.

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