Kyiv: Coordination in the EU of amendments to the gas directive establishes the legal framework for the operation of Nord Stream 2 according to EU standards, but does not remove security risks and can make the behavior of the Russian Federation even more aggressive. This was written on Facebook Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, Olena Zerkal.
"First and foremost, the EU’s right will be extended to gas pipelines from third countries, including Nord Stream 2. This was and remains the key provision of the proposed changes. It was Germany, Austria and a number of other Member States that opposed it. And they finally agreed with this ... However, the lion's share of the changes concerns how to ensure this compliance with the requirements of EU legislation for gas pipelines that start in another jurisdiction, that is, outside the EU," said Zerkal.
She explained that the directive defines how the gas pipeline operator and regulator must act to ensure that Nord Stream 2 complies with EU energy law requirements. In particular, the regulator of a member state can consult with the authorities of Russia, whence Nord Stream 2 comes from, and only as an exception Germany can get permission to conclude an intergovernmental agreement with the Russian Federation.
Zerkal emphasized that we are talking only about the regulation of the economic aspects of the gas pipeline operation. "The states continue to solve all other issues related to Nord Stream 2 on their own."
For example, environmental issues or safety. This is especially important for Denmark, which has yet to make a decision to allow or prohibit the construction of Nord Stream 2 in its territorial waters. And Denmark has enough arguments to refuse," said the deputy minister.
She also stressed that within the framework of the trialogue it was decided how the Commission can ensure effective control over the observance of the EU law by gas pipelines originating from third countries.
"So, we have a legal framework in which the functioning of Nord Stream 2 is possible only if it complies with EU law. This is what Ukraine demanded. We constantly stressed that Nord Stream 2 should not have a competitive advantage from the fact that may not respect the rights of the EU. The next task is to ensure the implementation of these changes," Zerkal emphasized.
At the same time, she noted that the adoption of these changes in itself does not remove the security risks of Nord Stream 2. In this context, the diplomat reminded of a very aggressive reaction from the Russian Federation to attempts to regulate Nord Stream 2 to the point that "we will complete the Nord Stream and deal with Ukraine".
“There is a risk that the extension of EU requirements to Nord Stream 2 will make the behavior of the Russian Federation even more aggressive. This requires increasing pressure on Russia, including possible sanctions,” Zerkal said.
In conclusion, she noted that the French-German consensus regarding changes to the directives was perceived by many as a betrayal, although in fact it is a step towards a new consensus in the EU as a whole, that Nord Stream 2 does not have political privileges and should be strictly evaluated from all sides: regulatory, economic and, of course, in the field of security.
Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the European Union countries had agreed to regulate the project of Nord Stream 2. As noted, one of the agreed proposals was that responsibility for gas pipelines with third countries, such as Russia, lies with the country where the gas pipeline first meets the European network.