Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

European Union adopts French-German compromise on Russian Federation gas pipeline

European Union adopts French-German compromise on Russian Federation gas pipeline

A last ditch German, French proposal to amend some of the language of the new rules on how to regulate Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline was approved by most fellow European Union member states. Previously, the EU States had agreed on a compromise, after the above Changes to the EU Gas Directive, stricter requirements for the project decided.

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.

Opponents of the pipeline worry it will weaken support for Ukraine by depriving Kyiv of gas transit fees along the traditional route for Russian supplies, which fill over a third of the EU's gas needs. "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 at a news conference.

The Commission asked the member states on Friday (9 June) for a mandate to negotiate with Russian Federation an agreement on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

An EU diplomat said U.S. officials lobbied their European counterparts until just before the start of Friday's meeting in a bid to block the gas pipeline.

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. At the same time, but it should be ensured that the completion of the 1200-kilometre long pipeline is not compromised.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline was meant to be monopolised by Russian energy firm Gazprom, according to original plans. Therefore, the line should be built to the end.

Once the new regulations are finalized, experts say they will subject Russia's Gazprom to European Union regulations on the pipeline and will not allow it to be its sole operator.

On the eve of the talks, the French Foreign Ministry said that France "intends to support the adoption of such a directive". "Germany will expand its gas terminals with liquefied gas", she said at the Visegrad Summit in Jerusalem.

But the European Commission has tabled a law that would break up Russia's model by imposing EU rules on the offshore structure in the Baltic Sea.

"There is no French-German crisis", the spokesman added.

The German government threatened in a dispute over the Nord Stream 2 to the last defeat.

"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.

German businesses have invested heavily in Nord Stream 2 and former Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder is running the project.

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