EU lawyers give Russia pipeline a free pass

(From left to right, first row) French Prime Minister Francois Fillon; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte; Russian President Dmitry Medvedev; and European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger turn a wheel to symbolically start the flow of gas through Line 1 of the Nord Stream twin pipeline system. (From left to right, back row) Dr. Johannes Teyssen, Chairman of the Board of Management, E.ON AG; Alexei Miller, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Management Committee of OAO Gazprom; Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, BASF SE; and Erwin Sellering, Minister President of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
(From left to right, first row) French Prime Minister Francois Fillon; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte; Russian President Dmitry Medvedev; and European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger turn a wheel to symbolically start the flow of gas through Line 1 of the Nord Stream twin pipeline system. (From left to right, back row) Dr. Johannes Teyssen, Chairman of the Board of Management, E.ON AG; Alexei Miller, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Management Committee of OAO Gazprom; Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, BASF SE; and Erwin Sellering, Minister President of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

EU lawyers have shot holes in the European Commission’s bid to regulate a new Russia-Germany gas pipeline – Nord Stream 2 (NS2).

The opinion, by the legal service of the EU Council, where member states meet, said the Commission’s legal arguments were flawed and that it had no competence to muscle in on the project. The opinion, leaked by Politico, an news website, was “ammo for [pro-Nord Stream 2] lobbyists”, one expert said.

It also showed how powerful member states, such as Germany, “manipulated” EU decisions, another expert said. The Council opinion, dated 27 September, took aim at an earlier Commission document, seen by EUobserver. That Commission paper had said Nord Stream 2 could distort EU energy markets in Russia’s favour by making Ukraine’s gas transit network obsolete.

It said the pipeline’s offshore section, under the Baltic Sea, ought to be regulated by a new EU-Russia agreement negotiated by the Commission in order not to have a “legal void” or “contradictory” laws (the EU and Russia’s). It also said the offshore section should be covered by EU laws forcing Russian firm Gazprom to give up its monopoly on use of the pipe…

Read more : EUobserver, 02.10.2017