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News // Russia

EU to issue mandate over Nord Stream 2 which has split opinion across Europe

29 May 2017 , 13:00Neftegaz.RU434

European Union members are to be asked within days to give the bloc’s executive a mandate to negotiate with Russia over the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

 

The planned £8.28 billion pipeline project has led to a split between Eastern European and Baltic Sea states who fear it will increase their dependence on Russian gas and undermine Ukraine’s role from Germany and other beneficiaries in northern Europe, who back the plan.

 

In a letter addressed to Denmark and Sweden on March 28, the European Commission said it was inviting all EU states to voice their concerns and would seek approval from EU energy ministers to negotiate an agreement with Moscow.

 

Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic said he hoped to get backing from all member states and Russia’s cooperation to negotiate plans for the pipeline, which will pump more gas along an existing route to Europe via the Baltic Sea to Germany.

 

Sefcovic said: «We are finalising the draft mandate, we need a few days (…) and will present it to member states as the best tool for this politically sensitive project, which has polarised attitudes among member states, and represents a legal challenge because of colliding European and Russian law. I believe we will get backing from all member states because most objections they have raised in negotiations have been taken into account.»

 

Gazprom, which supplies around a 3rd of the EU’s gas, with much coming via Ukraine, is keen for Nord Stream 2 to be built by 2019, when it must renegotiate gas transit fees with Kiev.

But the Commission and German regulators are at odds over whether EU law should apply to the pipeline.

 

Sefcovic added: «I believe Germany will support this mandate as it said it wanted the transit via Ukraine to be maintained and possible negative impacts of the project to be neutralised.»

 

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