Nord Stream 2, the second natural gas Pipeline through the Baltic sea, is highly controversial. Long, the Federal government has defended the project against any and all criticism of the EU partners. Now it is no longer on the Brink, because France is clearly on the side of Germany.
In Brussels is scheduled for this Friday, a vote of the EU member States, it could mean the end for Nord Stream 2. Unfazed by the controversy in the EU, the Russian group Gazprom has created long facts. About 600 kilometers of pipes have already been laid. Gas can from 1. January 2020, promises to Gazprom.
What is decided in Brussels?
It's going to be a in November 2017, the EU Commission proposed Revision of the so-called Gas Directive. This is to tighten the rules for Offshore Pipelines from third countries into the EU which would have a direct impact on Nord Stream 2.
Because the project is not handled according to the existing rules as a Pipeline, the EU needs to follow the rules, because only a short line is located on EU soil in Germany. The stricter rules, see, for example, that the owner of the line, and a gas supplier may not be one and the same company. This is the case of Nord Stream 2 with Gazprom but not the case. Until now, the EU Council, not a majority, of the Revision of the Gas Directive. Now France has apparently decided to be different and the output is open.
Why is Nord Stream 2 from the point of view of the Federal government, so important for the German energy supply?
Up to 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas can be sent with the new pipeline, Nord Stream 2 per year directly into the German gas grid, as much as Nord Stream 1, the path, which runs almost parallel. Together, this is something more than the whole of Germany's annual consumption of power plants, for Heating and in industry. Over Land, further gas pipelines from Russia lost to Germany, for example, about Poland. Also in the Netherlands and Norway, Germany is well connected. The Nord-Stream-tubes make Germany once and for all the major gas hub in Europe. Economically, the liquidity of the market and the direct access to the largest suppliers in Russia of high security of supply for Germany seen. The consumption of gas in this country rise as a result of the shutdown of coal-fired power plants probably.
What is the meaning of the vote for the Federal government?
again and again it has rejected the massive objections of other EU States against the project with the note that it was not a political, but a purely commercial project, it was also important for Europe's energy supply. It had also stressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin. For the lobby work in Germany, Gazprom has taken a prominent supporter of the former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD), took over after his departure from the policy of the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the predecessor project, Nord Stream, since 2016 is also President of the Board of Directors in the case of Nord Stream 2.
At the time of his old companions, Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), then Minister of the economy, had to make the Chancellor a lot of Persuasion. Already in the autumn of 2015 Gabriel discussed with Putin, as an "outside interference" to let the project limit was meant to be the European Union. Even back then, was that the Commission wanted to apply the within of the EU rules in force for the planned Pipeline. Also for Gabriel's successor in the Ministry of the economy remained an important issue. As the Commission in Brussels insisted on changing the Gas Directive, wanted to prevent the Federal government this Change, apparently, in the time of the vote. In order to stop the project but still, Germany needs a so-called blocking minority. As allies of the Germans in this matter, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece and Cyprus will apply – but without France, is not enough. The blocking minority is not come together, would have failed, the German strategy for the time being.
Why has France had a change of heart, apparently?
The spokesperson of the French foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday in Paris that France wants to support the Revision of the Gas Directive. "Working with our partners, Germany in particular, about possible Changes to the Text to be continued", said the spokesperson with views of the Gas Directive. That is, in Brussels, during the discussions on the Amendment of the Gas Directive on the side of Germany, was a surprise to Berlin. Just recently, the two countries reaffirmed with the signing of a new Treaty of friendship in Aachen for their cooperation. In addition, Berlin and Paris decided to set up a joint high-level working group on energy policy set up. France within the EU in the dispute over the Nord Stream project 2 in a kind of referee role. On the one hand, the gas pipeline through the Baltic sea for the energy supply of France, not a role. On the other hand, the neighboring Germany has concerns but no security, as they exist in Eastern Europe.
in Germany, there Are also sympathetic to the French Position?
Quite. Norbert Röttgen (CDU), Chairman of the foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, in the dispute against the line of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Germany is in the question "in isolation", said Röttgen, the daily mirror. The policy of the Federal government was "unilaterally, without regard to the majority's rejection of the EU and, above all, the safety of our Eastern European neighbours concerns". It was not the fault of France, "that we have isolated in this question". From the German side, there had been no movement. The Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer said this newspaper, Paris, 've never understood the "European interest is obviously better than Berlin".
In which countries is the resistance the greatest?
Initially, particularly Poland and the Baltic States fought against the new line. They also had made – in vain resistance against the since 2011 existing first Nord Stream Pipeline. The countries argued in terms of energy policy: The West is doing too much dependent on Russia. So the EU had decided, actually decided, the reference of energy sources should be diversified, which is a reduction of the Russian contingent means. In fact, the Gazprom deliveries to Germany have increased in the last few years. Denmark has canceled the approval process and is awaiting the European decision. The Ukraine is afraid of great financial difficulties because revenues from the Transit can be omitted Russian gas. Putin has promised to cut, the lines through the Ukraine could continue to be used. But this obviously applies only if the EU decreases even more Gas than the capacity of the Baltic sea give up Pipelines.
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The United States will have their promotion of Gas in the last few years, mainly due to the environmental and political concern. Now you want to with the product on the European market, but the price is about the Gazprom offer. However, Washington argued, especially in security policy with the warning from excessive dependence on Russia. "The European Parliament, the Commission and 16 European countries share our view, as regards the North Stream 2," said the U.S. Ambassador in Berlin, Richard Grenell, said on Wednesday in a conversation with representatives of the press. Since the new Position of France was not yet known. It is the aim of the United States, stressed Grenell, that Europe could gain access in the supply of energy to different sources and not heavily dependent on Russia would be.