Russia Warns EU Over 'Obstacles' In Constructing Nord Stream 2

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Russia Warns EU Over 'Obstacles' In Constructing Nord Stream 2

In November 2017, the EC proposed extending European Union energy rules to gas pipelines from third countries to Europe.

But France and Germany have now agreed to oversight from the "territory and territorial sea of the member state where the first interconnection point is located", according to a copy of the draft obtained by AFP.

"Regarding the gas directive, we have reached an agreement and this was possible because Germany and France worked closely together", German chancellor Angela Merkel said the same day in Berlin.

The EU would like to extend its internal market laws to offshore gas pipelines before the construction of the Nord Stream 2 is finished.

France had earlier made a decision to support amendments to the Gas Directive that would give the European Commission more powers over the Russian-European Nord Stream 2 pipeline, while Germany continued to oppose the move.

The two major European powers, which both have energy firms invested in the new gas link across the Baltic Sea, were publicly at odds ahead of the EU meeting. "We still believe that this project is beneficial to both the European gas consumers' interests and to Russian Federation as gas supplier", he said.

Critics say the project puts European energy independence at risk, giving Russian Federation outsized control over supplies.

Leaving Germany the option whether or not to impose the European Union laws on Nord Stream 2 might mean that Gazprom keeps its full monopoly. The pipeline project has been welcomed by some countries in Europe, including Austria, but opposed by others.

In an effort to address concerns, Merkel has insisted that gas volumes must continue via Ukraine - the traditional route for supplies that make up over a third of the EU's gas needs. He also noted that the vast majority of business representatives have voiced support for Nord Stream 2. "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.

What is the Nord Stream 2?

The German outlet Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, citing French government circles, that Paris fears more dependency on Russian Federation and "strategic problems" in the strained relationship between Brussels and Moscow.

It will go through the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of five countries - Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, thus bypassing transit countries of Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other Eastern European and Baltic states.

If the proposed regulation musters enough support, negotiations on final draft rules could begin as early as next week. France's European Affairs Ministry has not commented on the issue.

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is chairman of Nord Stream's shareholders committee.

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