The European Union reiterated on Thursday that the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany was “not of common EU interest” but will discuss a deal between the United States and Germany agreed this week.
“We will discuss this with EU states and our neighbours, including Ukraine,” a Commission spokesperson told a regular commission briefing, after Washington and Berlin pledged to mitigate the security threat posed by the pipeline.
The Commission also welcomed a German commitment to apply “the spirit and letter of EU energy laws”, given EU efforts to seek more energy independence from Russia.
The Kremlin said on Thursday it disagreed with some statements in an agreement between the United States and Germany on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, insisting that Russia had never used energy as a tool of political pressure.
Under the agreement announced on Wednesday by the United States and Germany, Berlin pledged to respond to any attempt by Russia to use energy as a weapon against Ukraine and other central and eastern European countries.
The pact aims to mitigate what critics see as the strategic dangers of the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline, now 98% complete, being built under the Baltic Sea to carry gas from Russia’s Arctic region to Germany.
“Russia has always been and remains a responsible guarantor of energy security on the European continent, or I would even say on a wider, global scale,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Peskov also said the Kremlin disagreed with comments in the agreement about countering Russian aggression and about Moscow’s allegedly malicious actions in Ukraine and beyond.
The U.S.-Germany deal includes a commitment to helping Ukraine continue to receive transit fees, a major source of state revenues, once Nord Stream 2 becomes operational. The current transit deal between Russia and Ukraine ends in 2024.
Touching on this issue, Peskov said: “I also want to remind you that President (Vladimir) Putin has repeatedly said Russia is ready to discuss extending the gas transit deal via Ukraine beyond 2024.”
Ukraine’s foreign minister said on Thursday Kyiv was seeking stronger security guarantees on Nord Stream 2 and had formally initiated consultations with the European Union and Germany.
Photo: EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN