Discussion on divergent gas policies of Warsaw and Berlin
Looking at the recent events, it does not seem likely that cooperation between Poland and Germany on cutting monopoly undertakings of Gazprom becomes real. One of the key issue that specialists highlight is the fact that when it comes to Germany – Russia relations, it is Russia that is more interested in smooth cooperation. Even though possible disagreement would generate vast expenses for both parties, it is Russia that is more dependent on Germany. Another point in favour of the stronger position of Germany is the fact that it is Germany that is the number one economic partner for the Russians (as opposed to Poland, which is treated as one of many countries Moscow is cooperating with).
The cautious policy towards Germany may be explained by the structure of gas imports. Germany as the biggest importer of the substance in the EU obtains it from various sources, the biggest of which is Russia (annually, Germany import over 30 billion m3 of gas). Imports from Russia cover 38% of all German imports of the substance, the remaining partners are Norway (responsible for approximately 26 percent) and the Netherlands (20 percent). In Poland’s case, Russian gas comprises 60 percent of imports. It should be noted that, even though Germany’s sources of import are diversified, the continuing shrinking of resources may cause greater dependency of Berlin on Moscow. An additional problem for the Germans is the fact that our Western neighbour does not have an LNG terminal allowing for supplies of the substance by sea.
The projected Nord Stream 2 will allow Germany become the most important European gas transmission country, as in the area near Greifswald 110 billion m3 of gas will be annually pumped into the EU transmission network. It appears that Germany place their bets on Russian gas and changing the course of their policy towards Moscow is not likely to happen. As to Germany, they are sparing with commenting on the issue of EU gas policy.
Apart from the aforementioned arguments, there is one more that may explain the current stance of Berlin, i.e. the pressure of industrialists on politicians. The industry is happy to cooperate with the Russian gas sector, and treats Gazprom as the leading supplier of fuel. It appears that in the current situation introducing a common Polish-German policy on stopping Gazprom building their monopoly in Europe is impossible.