Poland wants the European Union to ban the construction of a second pipeline to pump Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea, alleging it undermines the bloc’s strategic interests and violates competition rules.
Plans to build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline “go far beyond matters of energy, because in our region of Europe, the gas trade has strategic consequences,” Poland’s incoming conservative Minister for EU Affairs, Konrad Szyma?ski, was quoted as saying Thursday (12 November) by the Polish PAP news agency.
Revenue from the new pipeline could end up in Russian state coffers and be spent on arms, Szyma?ski warned.
He also pointed to the risk that a Russian monopoly on gas supplies to the EU could violate the bloc’s competition rules.
“We expect the European Commission to fulfil its responsibilities regarding this matter,” he said.
In June, Russian energy giant Gazprom agreed with its western European partners – Anglo-Dutch Shell, Germany’s E.ON, France’s ENGIE and Austria’s OMV – to build the second gas pipeline to Germany, bypassing conflict-torn Ukraine, but also its EU neighbour Poland.
Warsaw insists the move further undermines its lucrative role as a transit state for existing Russian gas pipelines.
Polish officials from across the political spectrum have also long insisted the first Nord Stream pipeline compromised their country’s energy security.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk also blasted the Gazprom plan earlier this month, claiming it would cost his non-EU country $2 billion (€1.8 billion) a year in lost revenue.
Yatsenuyk further argued the move would respectively deprive EU members Slovakia and Poland of $800 and $300 in revenue each year and “even deprive the EU of real energy independence”.
The US has also stated that Nord Stream-2 runs counter to the EU’s goal of reducing its energy reliance on Russia.
The pipeline 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.
Last month, EU energy commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete vowed the bloc would keep a close eye on the project.
Russia and the West are locked in a bitter standoff over the Kremlin’s role in Ukraine and a gas dispute between Kyiv and Moscow has threatened energy supplies to the EU.