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Nord Stream 2: European Union agrees tighter rules for Russian pipeline

10 February 2019

According to the French representation of the compromise provides for a two-stage procedure: The first responsibility for Pipelines with third countries such as Russian Federation spent in the EU country where the line for the first time on the European network hits, BelTA learned from the environment of the President of France, Emmanuel Macron.

"It only happened because Germany and France worked very closely together, also with the Romanian presidency (of the EU) and other member states", German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Berlin.

Berlin had been against the new European Union directive but, after France threatened to use its weight to push it through, agreed to a compromise where German regulatory officials would oversee projects like Nord Stream 2, but with European Union regulators having the final say, according to Macron's office.

"As per Article 36 on any exemption, the EC has a final word but, in my view, it would be very hard for the EC to require a significant and arbitrary cap on Nord Stream-2 capacity utilisation to be part of such exemption", Yafimava said, adding that on the contrary, the German NRA would be in a strong position not to introduce such cap because it could say that as most of capacity in European gas pipeline link (EUGAL) has been booked under legally binding contracts and neither the NRA nor the Commission raised objections to the "more capacity" procedure under which it has been done, and it closely mirrored draft CAM NC - Capacity Allocation Mechanisms, it must match NS2 capacity utilisation.

Nord Stream 2 AG, with Gazprom being the only shareholder, is the operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline construction project.

The US ambassadors to Germany, Denmark and the European Union urged EU members to vote against the pipeline. Speaking at a press conference, Ms Merkel declared: "Do we become dependent on Russian Federation because of this second gas pipeline?"

Many European countries rely on Russian Federation for natural gas, which makes them susceptible to potentially having their gas supplies cut off.

Merkel has so far insisted that the pipeline is a "purely economic project" that will ensure cheaper, more reliable gas supplies. Trump has criticized German payments to Russian Federation as he says it only strengthens Moscow's position in the region, especially as regards Ukraine.

"What we say is that if Nord Stream 2 happens, we want it to happen in a European framework".

German officials were keen Friday to downplay suggestions of a Franco-German rift, arguing that Paris and Berlin have a strong relationship that allows them to resolve differences.

The route of Nord Stream 2 bypasses Ukraine, thus robbing it of transit fees and making Germany western Europe's main distribution hub. He also noted that the vast majority of business representatives have voiced support for Nord Stream 2.

"Abandoning Nord Stream 2 will not be easy, but doing the right thing is often not easy".

If the proposed regulation musters enough support, negotiations on final draft rules could begin as early as next week.

France's foreign ministry said in a statement: "France has been, for several months, the target of repeated, baseless attacks and outrageous statements".

German businesses have invested heavily in Nord Stream 2 and former Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder is running the project.

Nord Stream 2: European Union agrees tighter rules for Russian pipeline