The EU reached agreement on the "Nord stream-2"

Leroy Wright
February 10, 2019

The German chancellor defended the controversial Nord Stream 2 project and argued that Berlin was already diversifying its energy resources with plans to purchase liquefied natural gas (LNG) from other countries.

It is trying to look beyond Russian gas - to imports of U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG) and new pipelines, such as a planned Norway-Poland pipeline via Denmark, that would supply Sweden and other neighbouring states.

Berlin and Paris has settled their dispute regarding the Nord Stream 2 and reached a tradeoff on amendments to the EU Gas Directive, suggesting their new version not blocking the pipeline project, AFP news agency reported on Friday, citing the received German-French draft of the accommodating paper.

An EU diplomat said U.S. officials lobbied their European counterparts until just before the start of Friday's meeting in a bid to block the gas pipeline. The essence of the proposal of Germany and France is that the country which is producing gas from the sea gas pipeline, will have the right choice of formula applied to the draft regulation of the EU Gas Directive and possible exemptions from it.

"The Americans don't want Nord Stream 2 to happen", an adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be publicly identified, stressing that it was not American pressure that shaped the French position.

Berlin had opposed the directive but, after France threatened to use its political leverage to push it through, agreed to a compromise, under which German regulatory officials will oversee projects like Nord Stream 2, but with European Union regulators having the final say. She also slammed proposed changes to the European Gas Directive that Moscow sees as aimed at torpedoing the pipeline project. The compromise proposal would have nearly agreed by all European Union member States.

Combined with the planned TurkStream pipeline across the Black Sea, Nord Stream 2 would mean Russian Federation could bypass Ukraine in providing gas to Europe, robbing Moscow's new foe of transit fees and a major strategic asset.

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Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow hoped the disagreement would be sorted out.

Peskov accused Washington of "underhanded competition" by trying to encourage Europeans "to buy more expensive American gas".

The Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian Federation meant to keep working on the project and that the pipeline was the most secure way to deliver gas to Europe.

Now that the European Commission's gas regulation proposal has gained enough support from member states, negotiations with the European Parliament to finalise the reform could begin as early as next week.

The loss of transit fees would hit Ukraine's economy hard.

Western firms invested in the project have so far each financed 600 million euros ($681.00 million) until year's end in what they say is a sign of faith that it will be continued, sources familiar with the matter said.

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