Estonia, 9 other nations ask EC to scrutinize Nord Stream gas extension
Russia's plan to extend its gas link Nord Stream that helps to bypass traditional transit routes through Ukraine and other Eastern European countries, is not in EU's interests, 10 European nations, Estonia among them, said in a letter to the European Commission.
The letter, signed on Thursday by Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, says the project should come under the EU's closest regulatory scrutiny, Reuters reported.
The signatories called for "an inclusive debate" at next month's EU summit, as the union's position on the Nord Stream 2 project would "essentially influence the perception of the EU's common foreign and security policy among its core allies and traditional partners," they said.
The Nord Stream extension to deliver increased volumes of gas straight to Germany could have serious consequences for Kiev and EU nations, the letter warned. "Preserving the transport route through Ukraine is the strategic interest of the EU as a whole, not only from an energy security perspective, but also reinforcing the stability of the Eastern European region," it explained.
Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas has previously stated that he believes the gas pipeline planned into the Baltic Sea would have a clearly negative impact on Ukraine's energy supply and gas transit in the direction of Central Europe.
On Wednesday, Gazprom said it would halt gas deliveries to Ukraine, while Kiev said it could find cheaper supplies elsewhere, Reuters reported.
The 1,224-kilometer Nord Steam twin pipeline system runs from Vyborg, Russia to Lubmin near Greifswald, Germany. It crosses the Exclusive Economic Zones of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, as well as the territorial waters of Russia, Denmark, and Germany.
The Nord Stream 2 project would see two additional pipes laid into the Baltic Sea to boost the system's capacity from current 55 to 110 billion cubic meters by 2019.