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Estonia to seek broad EU mandate for Russian gas talks beyond Nord Stream 2

Construction on Nord Stream 2 is hoped to begin in May 2018.
Construction on Nord Stream 2 is hoped to begin in May 2018. Source: (Reuters/Scanpix)

Discussions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project could be expanded to cover all imports of Russian gas to Europe, according to sources from the incoming Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU cited by the Euractiv news portal.

Estonia will ask the EU's 28 member states for a broad mandate to discuss all imports of gas from Russia, said an Estonian presidency official briefing journalists in Brussels on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the European Commission asked EU countries to give it a mandate to negotiate an agreement with Russia on the Nord Stream 2 project. Now, Estonia, which takes over the six-month rotating EU presidency from Malta this Saturday, says the issue can be resolved if Russian gas imports are addressed in a wider context, Euractive said.

"We trade gas with many countries, including Norway and energy community countries, atnd we require them to fully implement the third energy package," the Estonian source remarked, referring to so-called "unbundling" rules requiring energy production and transmission assets to be owned by different legal entities.

Entering negotiations with Russia on Nord Stream 2 with a different set of rules would be "very difficult to explain to the world, so lowering the bar in that context would seem very awkward," the Estonian source pointed out.

"Nord Stream 2 would run alongside Nord Stream 1," the official noted. "If we agree to rules on Nord Stream 2, why shouldn't they apply to Nord Stream 1? It makes me wonder if we shouldn't go for a wider mandate to cover all gas from Russia."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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