Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

European Union agrees tighter rules for Russian pipeline

European Union agrees tighter rules for Russian pipeline

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on 8 February that EU member-states had reached an agreement on the issue of the Russian-European Nord Stream 2 pipeline joint venture.

"Indeed, there has been an agreement on the gas directive".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel previously refuted claims that the Nord Stream 2 project would make Berlin dependent on Russian Federation by stating that it will not be the case if her country diversifies its energy suppliers.

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.

However, the project faces opposition from the United States and many countries in Eastern and Central Europe, because it would avoid existing gas pipelines through Ukraine and increase Europe's energy dependence on Russian Federation.

Grenell previously made headlines in Germany when he warned companies involved in Nord Stream 2 that they could face USA sanctions if they didn't pull out of the project. Previously, the EU States had agreed on a compromise, after the above Changes to the EU Gas Directive, stricter requirements for the project decided.

Construction of Nord Stream 2 has already started and involves companies such as Germany's Wintershall and Uniper, Dutch-British Shell, France's Engie and Austria's OMV.

"Overall the amendment is not a good idea as would create significant animosity between the European Union and Russian Federation in the gas sector, endanger chances of post 2019 Ukraine transit on a long term basis, open way to significant prolonged litigation, and undermine third countries investors' confidence in the stability of European Union regulatory framework, as clearly the amendment is a clear sign of politicisation of European Union regulation", she said, quipping: "And yet, in the end, it might achieve nothing positive".

The long-stalled agreement comes after a last-ditch German and French push to amend the draft and give Berlin a greater say in how to ensure the pipeline to carry Russian gas to Europe under the Baltic Sea complies with European Union law.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Moscow that Washington was spearheading efforts to undermine fair competition. The United States and many of its European allies, ... This would give it more control over how the new gas link is used.

The European Parliament also opposes Nord Stream 2. "I say "No", if we diversify at the same time", she said while on a visit to Slovakia.

The European Commission has voiced criticism of the pipeline project as it runs counter to the aims of European energy independence.

The draft compromise sought to tackle concerns over Ukraine saying: "We consider a (gas rules) directive in this spirit indispensable for a fruitful discussion on the future gas transit through Ukraine".

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