Russia-Germany gas link divides Europe: EU energy commissioner

epa05030907 EU Commissioner for Energy Union, Maros Sefcovic, speaks during a news conference on the Energy Union Strategy at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 18 November 2015. Press conference on the State of the Energy Union.  EPA/LAURENT DUBRULE



A plan to expand a natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany is driving a wedge into the European Union, with some eastern members feeling their needs are being overlooked by the richer and more energy-diversified west, the bloc’s top energy official said.
The €10-billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline isn’t aligned with the principles of the bloc’s laws and raises questions about the continent’s energy security, MarosSefcovic, the European Commission’s chief for energy union, said in an interview in Bratislava. The pipeline, able to meet almost 15 percent of current EU gas demand, is key to Russia’s plans to boost exports.
The planned link, which would pump Russian gas directly to Germany, has met resistance from eastern EU members including Poland, Slovakia and the Baltic States. Those nations and Ukraine, which either get income from gas transit fees or wish to diversify their energy imports beyond Russia, have called Nord Stream 2 “ anti-European.”
“At the beginning there was a strong voice that this is a purely commercial project, but I don’t remember any commercial project that would be so intensely debated on a political level,” Sefcovic said in an interview in Bratislava. “It sparked an intensive geopolitical debate on the future of Ukraine and energy security of southeastern Europe.”
EU Rules
Russian pipeline gas export monopoly Gazprom PJSC is pursuing Nord Stream 2 with western European companies from Germany’s EON AG to Paris-based Engie SA and plans to start it in 2019. Nord Stream 2 isn’t subject to regulation under the EU’s so-called third energy package, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said earlier this month, adding that the company expects exports to Europe to rise to a record this year.

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