Ambassadors from EU member states support limits to Nord Stream 2

2019-02-20, 21:27 update: 2019-02-22, 17:36
Ambassadors representing EU member states, in Brussels on Wednesday approved an amendment to the EU's gas directive, a move that will affect the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2 Baltic seabed gas pipeline project.

A Polish diplomat told PAP that thanks to the amended directive, Poland will gain influence over the gas pipeline project.

The controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline will supply Russian gas directly to Western Europe across the Baltic seabed, bypassing eastern EU members, who see as a threat to the region's and the EU's energy security. Currently, a major part of Russian gas is exported to Europe via Ukraine.

The amendment to the directive was approved by 27 EU member states, including Poland. Bulgaria abstained, according to the diplomat.

The diplomat said the new rules will give EU member states legal instruments that may change "the business model of Nord Stream 2, an investment that Poland opposes."

"Thanks to the gas directive, the Nord Stream 2 construction costs will go up, the completion date will be more distant and the return on investment will be doubtful. This way we can effectively block the implementation of this harmful project. Of course, this process will take time and will require consistency on the part of the European Commission," the diplomat explained.

Recently, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the EU member states have reached a compromise on the matter.

The draft amendment will now have to be officially endorsed by EU energy ministers, which is likely to happen in Brussels in March. It will also have to be passed by the European Parliament at a plenary session.

Under the draft directive, the undersea sections of pipelines on EU territory will be subject to the EU's restrictive third energy package.

According to current plans, Nord Stream 2 is to be completed in late 2019, but in under the new circumstances its construction may take a longer time. (PAP)