In the dispute over the natural gas Pipeline Nord Stream 2 France turns in a surprisingly against Germany. Paris is in support of a new EU Directive to enable the EU Commission to regulate this project is significantly more stringent.

negotiations on a possible Amendment of the text ran, but still, as the French informed the Ministry of foreign Affairs on Thursday in Paris.

By the 1200-Kilometer long pipeline to Russian Gas flow to Europe, the pipes in the Baltic sea are already moved to a quarter. Especially the United States, but also Eastern European States, the billion project is critical.

Specifically, it is an Amendment of the EU Gas Directive, which is intended to enable the EU Commission to regulate the Pipeline project is significantly more stringent. Additional requirements could make the project less profitable or even uneconomic.

The planned Amendment of the Directive provides for a separation of the corporate responsibility of the gas supply and mains operation. In the case of Nord Stream 2 both lies in the hands of the Russian energy group Gazprom.

An Amendment to the Gas Directive had previously been considered unlikely. According to information of the “süddeutsche Zeitung” could beat Paris, but now on the side of the supporters and the majority crucial change.

For the behind-the-Gas-project-standing Federal government and the builders this would be a serious blow. The Baltic sea Pipeline is to go by the end in 2019.

An official confirmation of the alleged new attitude of France on Thursday, neither in Paris nor in Brussels and Berlin. According to information from the German press Agency, France has informed but actually partner countries on plans for a change of course.

The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” quoted a French government circles with the words: “We don’t want to reinforce the dependence of Russia and the interests of EU countries such as Poland and Slovakia.”

The vote on the Amendment to the Gas Directive was planned for Friday – it could be moved. It should give the green light, could be decided in the new Directive before the European elections is final. The necessary negotiations with the European Parliament apply as a formality.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel no longer reacted cautiously to reports that France will support Germany in the case of Nord Stream 2. Merkel said in the Slovak capital of Bratislava on the edge of a meeting with the heads of government of the four Visegrad countries, it is nothing New that there were different opinions.

For it was important that Ukraine will still be a transit country for Russian Gas, Merkel said. And you don’t see that Germany or Europe go through the Russian-German Gas Pipeline Nord Stream 2 into a dependency of Russia. Germany wants to set up facilities for liquefied natural gas from the United States.

As a possible explanation for the positioning of the last, once again, increased pressure from the United States. In Washington, new Russia were tightened-sanctions, could meet in Russia, a very active French Oil company Total. A guess is that the US could have blackmailed France with such thinking, at least indirectly.

Paris would take with the rejection of the Pipeline, in purchase that it comes to a serious dispute for the EU, key Partner for Germany and France. Since his inauguration, President Emmanuel Macron had always stressed the close partnership with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Only at the 22. January had both signed the Treaty of Aachen, a new friendship Pact – and their mutual assurances of support.

“We stand by the decision” to the Gas Directive, quoted circles, the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” from the Paris government. Only if Macron personally, could lead to a Change in the Position.

With Nord Stream 2 to a year can be up to 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia to third countries such as the Ukraine or Poland over to Germany to be transported. By the end of 2018 370 km of the 1200-kilometre-long pipe had been installed. The Baltic States and Poland see the route as a threat to their safety. Ukraine fears the loss of billions of revenue as a transit country for Russian Gas.

The EU Commission, the Amendments to the Gas Directive proposed in November 2017. Since then, it is because of the Blockade of Germany and some other EU countries on ice.

Nord Stream had been threatened shortly after the move by the Commission to claims for damages, if the legal situation should subsequently altered to the detriment of the company. Meanwhile, the Gazprom subsidiary, has invested in the line already billions.

Legal reservations, against the plans of the Commission had expressed in March 2018, he also legal service of the EU Council. The EU does not have the competence, to extend appropriate rights on Pipelines, in the Exclusive economic zone of EU member countries, it was also in oceans to cross.

The United States has long been against Nord Stream 2. The U.S. Ambassador in Germany, Denmark and at the EU partner countries of Germany called on to support the Amendment of the EU Gas Directive. “Nord Stream 2 would increase the vulnerability of Europe to Russian blackmail in the energy sector,” wrote Richard Grenell and his counterpart, Carla Sands and Gordon Sondland in a guest contribution for the Deutsche Welle. The mountains risks for Europe and the West as a whole.


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Teodora Torrendo is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.


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