DW: France set to undermine Nord Stream 2 pipeline deal


Russian Federation has warned the European Union not to adopt tighter energy rules that could complicate plans to build a gas pipeline between Russian Federation and Germany under the Baltic Sea. "And this has been achieved because Germany and France have worked very closely, together with European Union term president Romania and of course with other member states", she said.

His comments to the RIA Novosti state news agency come a day after ambassadors of European Union countries agreed to a proposed new European Union directive to extend the bloc's rules regulating gas deliveries to incoming pipelines, like the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The agency quotes German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, that writes the French government allegedly wants to backtrack on its support to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, because the project is a "strategic problem" in tense relations with Moscow.

The essence of the proposal of Germany and France is that the country with the point of gas intake from the offshore pipeline in its territory will acquire the right to select the formula for application of EU Gas Directive provisions and possible exceptions from it. Germany is such country in case of Nord Stream 2.

The draft compromise reportedly addressed the concerns, saying: "We consider a (gas rules) directive in this spirit indispensable for a fruitful discussion on the future gas transit through Ukraine". The agreement empowers Berlin as the key negotiator with Russian Federation on the pipeline project and guarantees that any rules will be applied by the "territory and territorial sea of the member state where the first interconnection point is located". Under the compromise agreement, Germany will itself be able to determine the rules under which Nord Stream 2 will operate. The pipeline project has been welcomed by some countries in Europe, including Austria, but opposed by others.

Russian officials and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have insisted that the pipeline is a purely economic project. The German outlet Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, citing French government circles, that Paris fears more dependency on Russian Federation and "strategic problems" in the strained relationship between Brussels and Moscow.

Grenell previously made headlines in Germany when he warned companies involved in Nord Stream 2 that they could face U.S. sanctions if they didn't pull out of the project. He also noted that the vast majority of business representatives have voiced support for Nord Stream 2. She said this on Friday, February 8, in Berlin.

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

German businesses are very involved in the pipeline, having invested heavily in the project, which is run by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.