Although the gas pipeline through the Baltic sea is already built, a number of EU countries are trying to stop or slow down this project. Who became Chairman of the EU Council Bucharest is actively seeking a compromise on the “Nord stream-2”.
In the gas market of the EU there are strict rules to ensure competition and consumer rights. At the same time, it does not apply to gas pipelines coming into the EU from third countries – including in the “Nord stream-2” which is build from Russia to Germany under the Baltic sea.
Romania started the reform of the Third energy package?
In 2017, the European Commission has proposed to change EU legislation (namely the Third energy package) that its provisions extended to pipelines from third countries. But since the adoption of the draft Directive is practically not moved. Its adoption requires the consent of the European Parliament and of the Council of the EU. The Committee of the European Parliament in March 2018 was given the “green light” proposal.
But at the Ministerial level it’s stuck. The reason is that the state presiding in the EU Council and determines what to do with a particular legislative proposal. In 2018, it was Bulgaria and Austria, effectively blocking the progress of the project Directive. But from 1 January 2019 in the EU Council presides Romania, and she actively began to work. Already on 9 January, Bucharest has offered its vision document, and on January 15 the issue was discussed at the working group level in the EU Council.
EU still divided on the “Nord stream – 2”
Another reason for the delay was the lack of the necessary majority for adoption made by the European Commission changes. Because it needs the support 16 of the 28 countries representing at least 65 percent of the EU population.
But the EU is split on this issue. As you know, Poland and the Baltic States see the “Nord stream-2” security threat. Germany, like Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium, a positive attitude towards the project while in Berlin and make a reservation.
“We need new supply routes. Namely, we definitely need new LNG terminals (liquefied natural gas. – Ed.)… We need new pipelines and the future of the country, which would provide us security of supply,” – said in December at the EU Council parliamentary state Secretary of the Ministry of economy and energy of Germany Thomas Bareis (Thomas Barei?). At the same time, he stressed that Berlin important to the continuation of transit of gas on territory of Ukraine.
Based on performances at that day, that is, before the Romanian version of the compromise proposal of the European Commission supported at least 12 States. A number of countries have taken a wait.
Romania is looking for a compromise on gas
As stated by the foreign Minister of Romania Teodor Melescanu, his country will vote for the draft Directive, if there is a majority in support of it. “We do not occupy any position. It is our duty to try to find a consensus acceptable to most countries,” said DW correspondent the Minister during his speech at the Brussels think tank EPC.
The key for Romania to find the support of France. If she votes against or abstain, the majority required for decision-making, will not. Meanwhile, Paris announced that verifies the effects of proposed changes to Franpipe pipeline supplying gas from fields in the Norwegian North sea to France. The energy Department of the Ministry of environmental transition on the request of DW and did not answer.
In the Romanian variant is that innovations should be understood as not affecting the pipelines from the fields. This may be an attempt to withdraw the reservations Paris about Franpipe. According to the European Commissioner for energy maroš Šefčovič, the project of Romania takes into account all the comments made by different countries. According to the source DW in diplomatic circles, now Romania is still looking for a compromise with other countries.
Energy expert analytical center of Brussels CEPS Christian Egenhofer (Christian Egenhofer) expects that France as a whole for the dissemination of EU law on pipelines from third countries. On the other hand, Paris, he said, supports the “Nord stream-2”. Because Egenhofer assumes that the Directive can take in such a way that it will not interfere with this pipeline. “It is hard to imagine that I can make something that will negatively affect the “Nord stream-2”, – said the expert.
To catch up to the European Parliament elections
However, the proposed Romania version maintains the basic idea of the European Commission. We are talking about the definition of “Interconnector”. Now it means the piping connecting gas transmission systems of the member States of the EU together. In the Romanian project available to the DW, this definition serves to expand the gas pipelines linking the EU with third countries, but only for the section on the territory of the European Union.
At the same time to compromise is very low. First, in may elections to the European Parliament. So last chance for this convocation to vote for change this session in April. After the election, will begin the formation of the new European Commission, which will be no earlier than Nov. All this time, “Nord stream-2” will continue to build. Second, if “Breksi” will happen on March 29, as scheduled, the draft changes will be lost in the UK one of the most active supporters.
In practice, the distribution of gas of EU legislation on the “Nord stream-2” means that the operator of the pipeline shall be a company separate from the company producing and selling the gas. In addition, access to the pipe must be open to all interested companies. Finally, the tariffs should be regulated transparently.
As previously reported by DW, all three conditions would not mean a stop of the project “Northern stream-2”. But it could to detain him, in particular, due to the fact that to consolidate the implementation of the requirements will have an intergovernmental agreement between Germany and Russia. And time is of great importance, especially because the current contract for gas transit from Russia to the EU ends on 31 December 2019. Now there are negotiations between Kiev, Moscow and Brussels on a new transit contract. The fate of the “Nord stream-2” will strengthen the position of one side or another, because the pipeline will allow Russia to transfer to it a part of gas going to the EU through Ukraine.