Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Jüri Ratas on Thursday that the European Commission does not need a separate mandate to discuss with Russia the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline to be built in the Baltic Sea.
"I think some legal questions need to be clarified in relation to Nord Stream 2," Reuters reported Merkel as saying. "Otherwise it is an economic project and I don't think we need an extra mandate for it."
A number of Eastern European and Baltic countries are of the opinion that the construction of a new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea will make European energy policy even more dependent on Moscow. A number of other EU member states, however, particularly Germany, its main beneficiary, believe that this is a purely economic project.
The European Parliament and President of the European Council Donald Tusk have been against the project, and a number of European Commission representatives have admitted that it is at odds with the EU's goal of reducing energy dependence on Russia and does not mesh with the broader principles of the EU's energy alliance.
Thus the European Commission has requested of its member states a mandate for conducting negotiations with Russia in order to ensure that, if Nord Stream 2 is built, it is in full compliance with international law and EU energy rules.
Editor: Aili Vahtla