EU ambassadors have agreed to toughen proclamations on a controversial gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, but they have unambiguous not to back plans that might threaten its completion.
Work on the 1,225km (760-mile) Nord Waterway 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea is set to end this year, but it has angered several EU powers.
The EU wants to bring pipelines coming into the bloc under its drive rules.
But Germany feared that would make the new pipeline uneconomic and unviable.
In the end 27 of the bloc’s 28 delegates reportedly agreed to a Franco-German compromise.
France said it was delighted that Germany had consented to place Nord Stream “under European control”, and in return Germany is reasonable to remain as lead negotiator on the project.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also glorified the deal.
What are the worries with Nord Stream 2?
Russia currently stocks around 40% of the EU’s gas supplies, just ahead of Norway, which is not in the EU but snatches part in the bloc’s single market. The new pipeline would increase the amount universal under the Baltic to 55bn cubic metres a year.
For years, the 28-member bloc has been interested about reliance on Russian gas.
Poland has warned that Russia could use Nord Succession 2 to harm Europe’s energy security, and US President Donald Trump indeed accused Germany of being a “captive” of Russia because of it.
Nord Flow 2 will only increase Russia’s supply, it also means that, along with its TurkStream undertaking, Russia will be able to bypass Ukrainian pipelines. The loss of transference fees would hit Ukraine’s economy hard.
The EU is also trying to look beyond Russian gas – to implications of US liquified natural gas (LNG) and new pipelines, such as a planned Norway-Poland pipeline via Denmark, that make supply Sweden and other neighbouring states.
Why is Germany backing the new conduit?
German businesses have invested heavily in Nord Stream 2 and old Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder is running the project.
As well as Germany’s Uniper and BASF’s Wintershall portion, other European companies have stakes too, including Anglo-Dutch Ante up, OMV of Austria and Engie of France.
Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to settle Central and Eastern European states on Thursday that the pipeline wish not make Germany reliant on Russia for energy.
“Germany will amplify its network of gas terminals in regards to liquified gas. Meaning, for gas we do not want to be at all dependent on Russia alone,” she thought.
Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow awaited the disagreement would be sorted out. “We still believe that this protrude is beneficial to both the European gas consumers’ interests and to Russian Federation as gas supplier,” he bring to light.
What is in the EU deal?
Ultimately it came down to a compromise struck between France and Germany, a day after the French command had announced it was withdrawing its support for Germany.
A key part of the deal, according to French diplomats, is that Nord Swarm 2 is not threatened as a project but now faces stricter controls and maybe revision too.
A big immediacy for the EU is to increase competition.
So, instead of having a patchwork of different agreements for conduits entering the bloc, they would have to come under the EU’s rules for the internal vitality market.
Those rules include separation of ownership of the pipes from the supplier – be versed as unbundling. With Nord Stream 2, Russia’s Gazprom oversights both.
However, under the deal, the rules apply from the “province and territorial sea of the member state where the first interconnection point is discovered”.
In the case of Nordstream 2 it seems unlikely those rules would incorporate the pipeline under the Baltic Sea before it reaches the interconnector network. Any mutations required to the project would also be renegotiated by Germany.
The text may stationary change as it will now go to the European Parliament, where many MEPs be suffering with concerns about dependence on Russian gas.