France suddenly decided to join the countries that oppose the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Gazprom's third effort to bypass Ukraine with the gas pipeline in the past six years.
Suddeutsche Zeitung reports, citing sources in the French Government, representatives of Paris intend to vote for the amendments to the EU Gas Directive that would deprive Gazprom of control over the pipeline and could inhibit the planned maximum supply of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
The second Nord Stream pipeline will add “strategic problems” to already tense relations between the EU and Moscow, a high-ranking French official told the newspaper. “We do not want to increase dependence on Russia or harm the interests of EU countries such as Poland and Slovakia,” the official added. He specified that France intends to take that position in the upcoming vote.
Amendments to the gas law initiated by the European Commission in November 2017 would regulate Nord Stream 2. They will not block the construction of the gas pipeline but they can significantly restrict its operational capacity. The law would prohibit any company from being both a gas supplier and a transit company at the same time. Moreover, mandatory access to a gas pipeline of independent suppliers is required.
Gazprom will be unable to own the infrastructure, and gas volumes delivered could be halved
Germany and Austria still oppose the amendments and they managed to gain the support of Belgium, Greece
“Europe should maintain control over its energy security,” ambassadors wrote, stressing that paying for Russian gas will implicitly sponsor Russia’s military aggression.