Germany, France reach deal on gas pipeline project

10 February, 2019, 22:02 | Author: Myra Gill
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a signing of a new agreement on bilateral cooperation and integration known as Treaty of Aachen in Aachen Germany

Ambassadors of European Union countries meeting in Brussels gave the go-ahead to a tweaked proposal that sets the scene for negotiations on extending the bloc's rules regulating gas deliveries to incoming pipelines, like Nord Stream 2. It has also suggested that companies involved in the pipeline project could be vulnerable to energy-related sanctions against Russian Federation.

But Paris and Berlin now agree that chief responsibility lies with Germany, the "territory and territorial sea of the member state where the first interconnection point is located", according to a text seen by AFP.

So far, EU-mediated talks between Russian Federation and Ukraine have failed to agree the terms of such transits before their current contract expires by year's end.

"Regarding the gas directive, we have reached an agreement and this was possible because Germany and France worked closely together", Merkel told a joint news conference with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Poland has been an outspoken critic of Nord Stream 2. Eastern European, Nordic and Baltic Sea countries view the 1,225 km (760 mile) pipeline as holding the EU hostage to Moscow, while those in northern Europe, especially Germany, prioritise the economic benefits.

Nord Stream 2 is to concentrate 70 percent of Russian gas sales to the European Union in Germany.

The ambassadors were due to wrap up the talks on the gas rules later Friday afternoon, they added.

"The dependence on Russian gas worries us". The agreement empowers Berlin as the key negotiator with Russian Federation on the pipeline project and guarantees that any rules will be applied by the "territory and territorial sea of the member state where the first interconnection point is located".


Peskov accused Washington of "underhanded competition" by trying to encourage Europeans "to buy more expensive American gas". "For that reason, it is important to us to ensure European control so that this dependence does not increase", he said in Paris.

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.

"It will challenge a certain number of project parameters which will have to provide transit guarantees via Ukraine as well as transit through Slovakia", an official said.

The resolution calls for the pipeline's cancellation and supports a multinational freedom of navigation in the Black Sea after Russia's aggression against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait.

The European Commission has voiced criticism of the pipeline project as it runs counter to the aims of European energy independence.

Construction has already begun, involving companies such as Germany's Wintershall and Uniper, Dutch-British Shell, France's Engie and Austria's OMV.

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