According to Reuters, European Union nations backed a plan to regulate Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline last week, a move that will likely slow but not rule out its construction.
Germany and France have pushed to amend the draft agreement that ensures the Nord 2 pipeline carries Russian gas to Europe under the Baltic Sea complies with EU law, so that Berlin has a greater say on the matter.
Reuters reports that Nord Stream 2 has divided the EU, as German opposition to the new draft rules has stalled discussions since it was proposed by the EU executive in November 2017.
The 1,225km (760 mile) pipeline can already be seen by Eastern European, Nordic and Baltic Sea countries. The pipeline is currently under construction and IS increasing EU reliance on Moscow whilst northern Europe prioritises economic benefits, especially Germany.
EU capitals have overcome differences over shared geopolitical concerns that the pipeline would deprive Ukraine of transit fees by doubling the amount of gas that can be pumped under the Baltic Sea, Reuters reports.
Reuters states that the pipeline has become controversial due to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014. To address these concerns, Markel insists that gas volumes must continue via the traditional route for supplies, Ukraine. The route also makes up for over a third of the EU’s gas needs.
EU-meditated talks between Russia and Ukraine have failed to agree the terms of gas transits before the expiry of their current contract. A source told Reuters that, “Russia has been in wait-and-see mode, but this compromise gives the European Commission major leverage.”