EU Commissioner: Eastern Europe's security concerns regarding new gas pipeline understandable

Gas pipeline Southern Stream. (Reuters/Scanpix)
5/31/2016 12:48 PM
Category: Business

EU Commissioner for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič explained in a recent interview that he understands the security concerns of Eastern European countries regarding the planned Nord Stream 2 (NS2) gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

Speaking in an interview with Estonian daily Postimees (link in Estonian), Šefčovič said that he had never seen a single business project be so politically contested as the NS2 pipeline, however its builders must comply with all EU rules, including those involving the Third Energy Package.

According to Šefčovič, EU laws must be taken into consideration in territorial and commercial waters as well, and this [pipeline project] creates a very specific judicial situation, as part of the pipeline is located at the meeting point of two jurisdictions, with the laws and regulations of Russia on one side and those of the EU on the other.

“We need to avoid such situations; we cannot allow any such legal gaps with this project,” said Šefčovič. “Therefore we recommend creating a special legal structure [to guarantee] that the principles of EU law would be respected.” The commissioner added that energy security was also being considered as well.

At the same time, however, these factors have also contributed to the complexity of this project’s evaluation and discussions, said Šefčovič. On one hand, the consortium building NS2 pointed out the fact that this was a business project, however he admitted he had yet to see a business project so politically contested at every level, “Including the heads of the Estonian government, foreign and energy ministers, as well as on the citizen level.”

Together with five other big European energy companies, Russian-owned energy company Gazprom would like to open a second Nordic Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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