EU nations back rules that may stall Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline

EU nations back rules that may stall Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline

"France intends to support the adoption of such a directive".

Also on rt.com Is France trying to derail Germany's key energy plan for Russian gas pipeline? .

An EU source has said that France's vote will be decisive, likely leaving Germany short of a blocking minority, according to Reuters.

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. While Gazprom owns the project, half of its 9.5 billion-euro ($10.8 billion) cost is being financed by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Germany's Uniper SE and Wintershall AG, as well as France's Engie SA and Austria's OMV AG.

Work on the 1,225km (760-mile) Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea is already well under way and is set to be finished by the end of 2019.

In a joint op-ed published by Germany's Deutsche Welle, the US ambassadors to Germany, Denmark, and the European Union on February 7 urged EU member states to support the proposed change in the EU regulations. They will extend EU energy rules to gas pipelines from third countries to Europe and will give the European Commission power to demand a separation of gas sales and pipeline operating activities, as well as third-party access to a pipeline.

A French diplomatic source had told AFP on Thursday Paris was "not for or against Nord Stream 2".

France has now indicated that it will join efforts to stop Nord Stream 2 by rewriting the European Union's gas regulations. "We are asking that there are guarantees for the security of Europe and for the security and stability of Ukraine". Bulgaria would like to receive Russian gas from Turkish Stream, a project similar to Nord Stream 2, and Hungary plans to import Russian gas transiting via Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania.

"If we want to diversify, Germany will build new terminals for liquefied gas, which means we don't under any circumstances want to be dependent on Russian Federation alone", Merkel told reporters in Bratislava, Slovakia. "For that reason, it is important to us to ensure European control so that this dependence does not increase", he said in Paris.

Opponents of the pipeline worry it will weaken support for Ukraine by depriving Kyiv of gas transit fees along the traditional route for Russian supplies, which fill over a third of the EU's gas needs.

Opponents of Nord Stream 2 include most eastern European Union countries, the Nordic states, and the UK. For now, it is only known that French President Emmanuel Macron has canceled his participation in the Munich Security Conference, where he was scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next week.

Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said they would take up the resolution at their next meeting.

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