Friday, December 18, 2015

Tusk Says Nord Stream 2 Does Not Meet EU Energy Rules

European Council President Donald Tusk says the proposed Nord Stream-2 pipeline extension does not meet EU energy rules on supply diversification and would undermine Ukraine's role as a gas transit state.

Speaking during a press conference at the close of a two-day summit of EU leaders in Brussels on December 18, he said the planned second Russian natural-gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany flouted EU rules on diversifying energy supplies, energy sources, and energy transit routes.

As European Council president, Tusk does not have the final say on whether the EU approves the pipeline. That power rests with the European Commission.

The planned new pipeline is supported by Germany because it would double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipeline which brings natural gas to Germany.

But the project is strongly opposed by several Central European EU members as well as the United States, which see it as a Russian strategy to bypass Ukraine. The additional volume Nord Stream 2 could carry would be roughly equivalent to what Russia currently delivers to the EU through Ukraine, providing Kyiv an important source of transit revenues.

Amos Hochstein, the U.S. special envoy for international energy affairs, told media on December 16 that Washington views the pipeline as part of Russia's "overarching political agenda to get rid of Ukraine as a transit country." He called that an attempt to "undermine the economic stability of the county by non-military means."

The summit in Brussels, which began December 17, has also focused on EU migration policy.

European Union leaders meeting overnight pledged the speedy establishment of an EU border and coastguard force.

The leaders decided that they would agree upon details of the new border force by the middle of next year.

The decision came as they again urged each other to implement measures agreed this year to curb migration across the Mediterranean.

Some leaders, including Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, signaled they wanted to remove a controversial element of the proposal which would give Brussels power to send in EU border guards without a country's consent.

Greece and Italy are under pressure to do more to manage and identify arriving migrants while governments in general have yet to make good on promises to help take in asylum seekers and deport unwanted economic migrants.
[Based on reporting by RFE/RL and Reuters]


1 comment:

  1. Russia warned December 21 that any move by the European Union to cancel the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia's Baltic coast to Germany would only hurt Europe.

    "The sides have reached considerable progress in terms of legal, technical, economic, and financial aspects of this agreement," Russian Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev said December 21 in Brussels.

    "Failing to implement it now would be a shot in one's foot from the side of whoever would want to do it." he said.

    "This is about Europe's energy balance, safeguarding security of supplies, these are most important questions."

    The Nord Stream-2 project, which involves German and Dutch companies as well as Russia's Gazprom, fell into question last week after Italy raised it as an issue during debate over extending Russian economic sanctions.

    Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Berlin's plans to turn Germany into a hub for the distribution of Russian gas through the project, which was intended to bypass Ukraine, "left a dubious taste," especially after a similar South Stream project that would have benefited Italy was blocked by sanctions last year.


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