The European Union has offered to negotiate with Russia on behalf of its member states about the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which aims to bring Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea, Danish newspaper Politiken reported yesterday (29 March).
In a letter to the Danish government seen by the newspaper, the European Commission invites EU countries to provide their opinions about Nord Stream 2, clarifying that the pipeline cannot be operated in a “legal vacuum”.
The Commission will ask the member states for permission to initiate negotiations with Russia in order to reach an agreement that pivotal principles from the Union’s legal framework will be imposed on projects like Nord Stream 2, Commission Spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen told the newspaper.
The EU is divided between Eastern European and Baltic Sea countries that fear a new pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic will make the EU a hostage to Moscow – and those in Northern Europe, most especially the main beneficiary Germany, for whom the economic benefits take priority.
Poland and other East European countries see in Nord Stream 2 a Russian plot to undermine the bloc’s strategic interests and competition rules.
Conversely, Western countries participating in the project see it as business enterprise and reject the accusations.