Poland’s conservative president yesterday (8 September) slammed a deal between Russian energy giant Gazprom, and several leading Western firms, to build a second gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, saying it ignores Polish interests.
“Considering that an agreement was concluded on building Nord Stream-2, which completely ignores Polish interests, one must seriously question unity” in the 28-member European Union, President Andrzej Duda told delegates to an economic forum in the southern Polish mountain resort of Krynica, dubbed “Central Europe’s Davos”.
In June, Gazprom agreed with Anglo-Dutch Shell, Germany’s E.ON and Austria’s OMV to build the new gas pipeline — dubbed Nord Stream-2 — to Germany, bypassing conflict-torn Ukraine, but also EU neighbour Poland.
The route under the Baltic Sea would have a capacity of 55 billion cubic metres per year and would double the flow of the existing Nord Stream pipeline currently linking the two countries.
No timeframe was given for the deal that will boost Germany as a distribution hub for Russian gas in Western Europe, but undermines Poland’s role as a transit state.
Polish politicians from across the political spectrum have long opposed Nord Stream, claiming it undermines Poland’s energy security stemming from its role as a transit country for Russian gas via the Yamal-Europe pipeline.
The Nord Stream-2 announcement comes as Moscow seeks more gas delivery routes to the EU that bypass Ukraine, despite the EU’s insistence that it wants to cut its dependence on Russia.
Russia and the West are locked in a bitter standoff over the Kremlin’s role in Ukraine, and a gas dispute between Kiev and Moscow has threatened energy supplies to the EU.