November 10, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– Tsargrad, translated by Tom Winter –
|“Russia categorically opposes the EC interference in the realization of the commercial enterprise Nord Stream II”|
However, the European Commission tried to avoid the impression that it was only punishing Gazprom, pointing out that from now on all pipelines “in the EU zone” should be built and operated in accordance with its domestic legislation and on the basis of the principles of its energy market. Theoretically, the new proposals also apply to gas pipelines into the EU from Algeria, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco, and after Brexit – from Britain. In order to diversify gas supplies, priority will also be given to the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project from the Caspian region, facilitating access to liquefied natural gas.
What the EU hopes for
The deputy head of the European Commission for the Energy Union Maros Shefovich expressed the hope that the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament will adopt the “accelerated procedure” for the agreed amendments to the Gas Directive, which is part of the EU Third Energy Package, and that they will “give us a mandate for negotiations.”
Thus, Brussels was determined to take away this prerogative from Berlin and the other European capitals. Instead of 28 negotiators there would have to be just one. Shevchovich admitted that not all EU member states agree with such a statement of the issue, expressing hope that the amendments adopted “make our mandate request clearer and more meaningful.”
“When it comes to such a controversial project as Nord Stream-2, this has been our position for a year and a half: we want to make sure that such an important project can not be built just in accordance with Russian law, which is why we asked for a mandate for negotiations with Russia,” Shefovich commented on the decision taken yesterday in Brussels.
The meaning of the adopted amendments is that “all important gas pipelines entering the territory of the EU comply with its norms, operate at the same level of transparency, and are accessible to other operators.” The European Commission expects that “as soon as these amendments are approved by the European Parliament and the EU Council, this will be a big step towards the implementation of the Energy Union.”
In Brussels, they said earlier that they intend to extend the provisions of the Third Energy Package of the EU to Nord Stream II, introduce them into an intergovernmental agreement with Russia, obliging Gazprom to pump the gas of independent producers through the pipeline, having allocated half of its own gas pipeline for this purpose. At the moment, the provisions of the Third Energy Package do not apply to Nord Stream-2, since the pipeline is entirely outside the EU territory.
Russia is categorically opposed
Naturally, Russia is against the fact that the EU has actually extended its jurisdiction to the Baltic Sea, at the bottom of which Nord Stream II was to pass.
“The attempts of narrow-minded forces in the EU to politicize and undermine the energy dialogue between Russia and the EU are of concern,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a recent meeting with members of the Association of European Businesses. “They accuse us on the grounds that the EU has become overly dependent on Russian energy carriers, despite to the fact that the share of Russian gas in the EU market is comparable to the Norwegian share – one third of the total.”
Lavrov stressed that Nord Stream II strengthens the energy security of the EU and makes a significant contribution to the development of the economies of the countries of the Community. He recalled that “at the stage of construction of the Nord Stream-II alone about 200 companies from 17 member states will be involved.” The Russian Foreign Minister stressed that “the long-term uninterrupted supply of Russian hydrocarbons to Europe provides the economies of the EU countries with significant competitive advantages.” Lavrov also called the “ungrounded” the attempts by the European Commission to negotiate with Russia on this issue.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also said about this: the Nord Stream-II project is commercial, attempts to politicize it are “manifestation of unfair competition.”
Russia’s permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, also warned that Moscow will not negotiate with Brussels on Nord Stream II, since this issue is not in the competence of the European Commission. Moreover, the EC does not have a mandate to conduct such negotiations. As its head Jean-Claude Juncker admits, in the coming months he will not appear because of a split within the community on this issue. Chizhov stressed in this regard: “This is a commercial project, there is a consortium that leads it, this is not a government initiative.”