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Estonian MEP: Nord Stream 2 unnecessary from EU energy security perspective

MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE).
MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE). Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

Member of the European Parliament for Estonia, Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE), has sent the European Commission (EC) an interpellation in which he says that the Nord Stream 2 underwater gas pipeline is unnecessary according to the principles of EU energy security.

In his letter, Paet said that the main aims of the EU Energy Union have been to diversify energy sources and supplies and to increase connections between EU member states. At the same time, the construction of Nord Stream 2 came in violation of the EU’s energy strategy, as significantly increasing the market share of a single supplier on the EU gas market would decrease the diversity of supply sources the strategy calls for.

“Many member states have repeatedly brought to the European Commission’s attention the contradictory nature of Nord Stream 2 and asked for the Commission’s opinion on the compliance of the Nord Stream 2 project with the gas market regulation of the European Third Energy Package,” Paet wrote.

At the same time, German Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel recently confirmed that Germany is in favor of the construction of the pipeline.

Paet said it was clear that EU member states had different interests and points of view about the project.

“It is important what kind of role will be played by the European Commission, first and foremost in terms of the goals of the EU Energy Union in diversifying energy sources,” he stated in the letter.

Paet’s interpellation was responded to by EC commissioner Miguel Arias Canete. Canete pointed out in his response that the Commission had publicly said on several occasions that Nord Stream 2 was not consistent with the policy goals of the Energy Union, as it did not ensure access to new supply sources, but would give a single supplier the option to further strengthen their position on the EU gas market.

“The European Commission promotes interconnected, diverse, and competitive gas markets in Europe. Examples of the Commission's endeavors to diversify energy supply are initiatives like the southern gas corridor, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) exchange in the Mediterranean region, a high-level work group for the connecting of gas networks of Central and Southeastern Europe and support to LNG repositories in the EU,” Canete said.

He also stated that taking into account these directions of development and the currently existing and well-functioning import infrastructure, the European Commission did not see the need for new gas import infrastructure the size of Nord Stream 2.

“The Commission also believes that if Nord Stream 2 is built, it cannot or must not be operate in a legal vacuum or only according to the law of a third country. Thus a special legal order must be established which will follow the fundamental principles of internation and EU energy law. For this the Commission is planning to apply for authorization to sign a contract with Russia concerning the legal framework," Canete said.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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