European Union nations back rules that may stall Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline

A man looks into a tube representing a natural gas pipeline at the booth of Nord Stream at the Hanover industrial fair in Hanover Germany

Nord Stream 2 AG Says Discrimination Possible Under Revised EU Gas Doctrine

France had earlier made a decision to support amendments to the Gas Directive that would give the European Commission more powers over the Russian-European Nord Stream 2 pipeline, while Germany continued to oppose the move. The compromise proposal would have nearly agreed by all European Union member States.

The route of Nord Stream 2 bypasses Ukraine, thus robbing it of transit fees and making Germany western Europe's main distribution hub. "Yes, we are ready to support the Ukrainian Transit will continue, but under the terms we need".

"Regarding the gas directive, we have reached an agreement and this was possible because Germany and France worked closely together", German chancellor Angela Merkel said the same day in Berlin.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is expected to come into service at the end of 2019.

Some among them were happy that the gas directive was moving after being stuck in European Union talks since November 2017 despite the looser wording.

Wolfgang Büchele of the German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV) also warned against rule changes: "We find it disconcerting that an economically sensible project in which a number of European companies are financially involved, among them some from France, is now being called into question as a result of irrelevant political deliberations and sustained pressure from the United States".

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Nord Stream 2 would not make Germany dependent on Russian Federation for gas, stressing that Ukraine must remain a transit country.

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"It would be fatal, if a fully approved billion-euro project, in which billions have been invested, could suddenly no longer be carried out", OMV CEO Rainer Seele said earlier this week.

Katja Yafimava, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, told New Europe that there has been a proposal agreed by France and Germany on which the vote on February 8 in favour of the amendment was conditioned. "Germany will expand its gas terminals with liquefied gas", she said at the Visegrad Summit in Jerusalem.

A French diplomatic source told AFP that Paris was "not for or against Nord Stream 2".

Critics say the project puts European energy independence at risk, giving Russian Federation outsized control over supplies. The German outlet Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, citing French government circles, that Paris fears more dependency on Russian Federation and "strategic problems" in the strained relationship between Brussels and Moscow.

"That France places the good of European unity over solidarity with Germany is correct", Norbert Roettgen, the head of the foreign affairs committee in the German parliament, said on Thursday.

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

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