Friday, 22 February, 2019

European Union adopts French-German compromise on Russian Federation gas 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
Ellis Copeland | 10 February, 2019, 22:00

It would have forced Russian firm Gazprom to lose its monopoly on Nord Stream 2, posing questions on the project's business model.

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

France and Germany have reached a compromise that will allow Berlin to remain the lead negotiator with Russian Federation on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, European leaders confirmed on Friday.

"So the European Parliament position appears to be rather fluid but overall it is fair to say that of all EU institutions, the European Parliament is most anti Nord Stream-2". The essence of the proposal of Germany and France is that the country which is producing gas from the sea gas pipeline, will have the right choice of formula applied to the draft regulation of the EU Gas Directive and possible exemptions from it.

The statement came after France said it would back an European Union proposal to regulate the gas pipeline.

In earlier supporting broader European Union oversight, a French diplomatic source had told AFP on Thursday that Paris was "not for or against Nord Stream 2". "The French-German compromise was adopted pretty much unanimously", one diplomat told AFP.

The draft compromise reportedly addressed the concerns, 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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However, an attempt to implement new regulations mid-way through the Nord Stream 2 project are nearly certain to run into legal challenges from Russian Federation, said Katja Yafimava, a senior research fellow at Britain's Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Moscow that Washington was spearheading efforts to undermine fair competition. This would give it more control over how the new gas link is used.

The Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian Federation meant to keep working on the project and that the pipeline was the most secure way to deliver gas to Europe.

Construction has already begun, involving companies such as Germany's Wintershall and Uniper, Dutch-British Shell, France's Engie and Austria's OMV.

The resolution calls for the pipeline's cancellation and supports a multinational freedom of navigation in the Black Sea after Russia's aggression against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait. "I say "no", if we diversify at the same time", Merkel told a news conference in Bratislava, where she met the leaders of the Visegrad group - Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

French President Emmanuel Macron's office said the compromise puts Nord Stream under "European oversight".

The European Commission has voiced criticism of the pipeline project as it runs counter to the aims of European energy independence. Gas is due to start arriving in Germany by the end of the year.

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