EC delays Nord Stream 2
According to analysis of experts from the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), European Commission tries to delay realisation of Nord Stream 2. The goal behind the intentional – as OSW claims – activity of EC is buying some time and putting the project off beyond 2019 when a transit agreement between Ukrainian Naftohaz and Russian Gazprom expires. Nord Stream 2 is to be completed by 2019 and have annual transmission capacity of 55 billion m3 of the raw material. According to experts, the Commission, through their actions, are trying to coerce conclusion of a new contract between Russia and Ukraine on transmission of Russian gas after 2019. Russia plans to terminate transmission of gas by gas pipelines situated in the territory of Ukraine.
It should be noted that at the end of March the EC extended a letter to Danish and Swedish governments touching on inconsistency between the project and the aims of the energy union, as the situation strengthens the position of Russia as the biggest supplier on the European market.
At the same time as the Commission’s letter was extended, several dozen Members of the European Parliament extended a letter to the President of the European Council and Deputy President of the European Commission calling for suspending the construction of Nord Stream 2.
The authors of the analysis stressed that the EC, despite publishing the project as early as 2015, have not voiced their opinion on the project – a statement on the issue of compliance of NS2 with the law and political goals of the EU has not been established. A problematic issue is also a fragment of the EC spokesperson’s statement, who declared that EU law does not apply to the sea part of the project. The statement is in contrast with the expressions used in the letter and is not fully in line with the Commission’s statement.
There is a visible, currently deepening, division between the EU member states. The proponents are corporations, such as British-Dutch Shell, French ENGIE or German Uniper and Wintershall, which support it. Among the opponents are Poland, Slovakia and the Baltic states. There is also a group of countries, such as the Scandinavian states or the Czech Republic, that do not have a clear opinion on the project. On the one hand, they appreciate the possible economic benefits, but are concerned about the negative effects when it comes to security. The Scandinavian countries also raise the issue of the geopolitical consequences of the project.