Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

European Union tougher regulations unlikely to stop Nord Stream-2

European Union tougher regulations unlikely to stop Nord Stream-2

"What we say is that if Nord Stream 2 happens, we want it to happen in a European framework".

"Indeed, there has been an agreement on the gas directive. I say "No", if we diversify at the same time", she said while on a visit to Slovakia.

Under the compromise, which threatened to open a rift between the EU's two most powerful countries, Berlin will remain the lead negotiator on the project.

Additionally, if the European Commission sees the directive as giving Europe leverage to secure agreements with Russian Federation about gas transiting Ukraine in other pipelines, it could backfire, and make Moscow less willing to concede to a longer-term agreement on that, she said.

France plans to back an European Union proposal to regulate Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline, its foreign ministry said on Thursday (7 February), potentially threatening its completion and dealing a blow to Germany which has been trying to garner support for the project.

On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry released a statement saying: "France intends to support the adoption of this directive".

Speaking at a joint news conference with Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Merkel said differences over a proposed European Union gas directive have been resolved. Previously, the EU States had agreed on a compromise, after the above Changes to the EU Gas Directive, stricter requirements for the project decided.

In its current form, Nord Stream 2, fully owned by Russian state energy firm Gazprom, would not be compliant with tougher new rules foreseen for new infrastructure projects.

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"Abandoning Nord Stream 2 will not be easy, but doing the right thing is often not easy".

The proponents of policy change argue that the line is reinforcing the energy dependency of Europe from Russian Federation unnecessarily, and to the interests of the Eastern European EU member States and partner countries such as Ukraine claims.

In the United States, a bipartisan group of senators drafted a resolution calling for the cancellation of the pipeline project, and leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said they would take up the resolution at their next business meeting.

Now that the European Commission's gas regulation proposal has gained enough support from member states, negotiations with the European Parliament to finalise the reform could begin as early as next week.

Merkel has so far insisted that the pipeline is a "purely economic project" that will ensure cheaper, more reliable gas supplies.

Delay in the construction of the pipeline would weaken Moscow's leverage in talks with Ukraine over a new gas transit deal this year and would create uncertainty for Gazprom partners involved.

Construction has already begun, involving companies such as Germany's Wintershall and Uniper, Dutch-British Shell, France's Engie and Austria's OMV. Germany would but the main distributor of Russian gas in Western Europe.

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