MEPs: Nord Stream 2 project harms EU solidarity
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project went against the European Union’s energy policy goals and harmed solidarity among member states, members of the European Parliament said in a debate on Tuesday.
Several members stressed that the new pipelines connecting Russia and Germany didn’t contribute to the diversity of Europe’s energy resources, but on the contrary increased the EU’s dependence on a single supplier.
Nord Stream 2 will increase the transit capacity between Russia and Germany and add two pipelines to the existing Nord Stream connection, which circumvents the traditional transit countries of Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. They demanded in March that the European Commission assess the project’s conformity with the union’s energy policy goals.
The arguments have remained more or less the same, namely that the pipeline brought economic as well as political risks. Critics argue that Nord Stream makes Germany dependent on Russian gas and exposes it to price risks, as it mainly relies on a single supplier. At the same time, former transit countries lose political leverage within the EU, while that of Germany increases further.
Another point of criticism was the fact that just weeks after former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder left office, he was made chairman of the operating company’s supervisory board. The majority owner of the pipeline is the state-owned Russian company Gazprom.
EU commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said in the debate on Tuesday that the project would very likely change the structure of the existing gas market in Europe, and that the commission was talking to the German government to get access to all the information necessary for a thorough assessment of Nord Stream 2.
Cañete stressed that EU law and directives needed to be followed in every aspect, and that all such projects needed to meet the union’s energy policy goals.