Nord Stream II overcomes another hurdle

EU legal department shoots down EU Commission requirements


EU requirements for Nord Stream 2 deemed inadmissible
EU report: Success for Gazprom and Nord Stream 2
The conditions set by the EU Commission against the controversial Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream II are apparently inadmissible. This is the conclusion of the legal department of the EU Council of Ministers. The department’s opinion is that the restrictions are a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, reports Spiegel Online.

It is a small success for the controversial pipeline project, which has many opponents, especially in Northern and Eastern Europe. The EU Commission has been looking for a way to slow down the planned gas connection between Russia and Germany for quite some time. In November 2017, the Commission proposed an amendment to the EU Gas Directive. This would have placed numerous constraints on the Nord Stream II project, including network access and tariff structure. But the Commission’s initiative could now fail at the EU’s Council of Ministers. As the report indicates, the EU should not demand a stronger voice. One of the reasons for this is that the pipeline traverses a 200-mile zone off the EU coast.

Conservationists criticize the Baltic Sea pipeline
As early as January, Germany submitted a legal opinion according to which the planned amendment to the Gas Directive fit “neither European nor international law.” It does not contribute “to the goals of the Energy Union,” the Russian business newspaper Vedomosti quoted from the document. Meanwhile, the first permits for the construction of the pipeline are available. At the beginning of February, the Stralsund Mining Authority had declared the construction and operation of the planned 55-kilometer section of the pipeline permissible in German territorial waters. But there is criticism of the decision: A few days ago, the Naturschutzbund Germany (“Nature Protection Group”) filed a lawsuit to prevent the construction of the second pipeline.

Funders from Germany and Austria

In addition to the Russian energy group Gazprom, five European companies are participating in the financing: Uniper, Wintershall (both from Germany), Engie (France), OMV (Austria) and Shell (Netherlands). Chairman of the Board at Nord Stream 2 is former SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The project meets with criticism above all in Eastern EU states such as Poland. The concern is that Western Europe may become even more dependent on Russian commodities. Ukraine is also a pipeline opponent, as it fears lost transit payments. Recently, Russia ended its gas deliveries to Ukraine in response to a new gas dispute.

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