The European Union is giving up on efforts to stop construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 project and is instead seeking a mandate from its member countries to negotiate with Russia over their concerns that Moscow’s plans to build a second pipeline to pump more gas to Europe via the Baltic Sea to Germany, will make Europe too reliant on Russian gas.
The Russian state-run enterprise Gazprom already supplies the EU with around one third of its gas requirement, but its plan to build a second pipeline has bitterly divided the EU, with Eastern European and Baltic Sea states worried that a new pipeline will increase their dependence on Russian gas and undermine Ukraine’s role as a transit country. Germany and other beneficiaries in northern Europe, in contrast back the plan.
In a March 28 letter addressed to Denmark and Sweden, the Commission said it was inviting all EU states to voice their concerns and would seek a mandate from EU energy ministers to negotiate an agreement with Moscow on behalf of the bloc.”It is our view that a specific legal regime would need to be established for the offshore section, and that such specific legal regime should include some fundamental principles stemming from EU energy law,” the Commission said. “It cannot be built or operated … in a legal void.”
Discussions would focus on how EU rules aimed at ensuring competitiveness and transparency in the gas market could be applied to the offshore pipeline, the Commission said.