Construction of Nord Stream 2 is now well under way, but many European Union (EU) countries are trying to stop this project, or at least slow down the process. Romania, which presides in the EU, is in search of a compromise on the proposal from the EU, which may affect the construction of the gas pipeline.
In order to ensure competition and protect consumers' rights, the European gas market maintains strict rules. However, they do not apply to the gas pipelines of third countries that go to the EU, including the Nord Stream 2, which are built from Russia to Germany along the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
In 2017, the European Commission proposed to amend the legislation so that its norms would extend to third-party gas pipelines. For the Nord Stream 2 project, this means that the pipeline operator should be a company that has no relation to a company that produces gas and sells it. Regulation of tariffs should be transparent, and access to the pipe is open to any company.
Meeting these conditions will not mean stopping the Nord Stream project. However, this may hold him back, in particular because it would be necessary to secure the requirements in an intergovernmental agreement between Germany and Russia. And time is important, especially since the current contract for gas transit through Ukraine from the Russian Federation to the EU expires on December 31. Now there are negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow under the mediation of Brussels on a new transit contract. And the fate of Nord Stream 2 will strengthen the position of one of the parties, because its launch will allow Russia to transfer to it a part of the gas that goes to the EU through the territory of Ukraine.
From 2017, these changes have practically not progressed. The consent of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU is necessary for the adoption of the project. The European Parliament Committee, in March 2018, gave the “green light” to the proposal. But at the ministerial level it got stuck. What to do with the legislative proposal is decided by the Presidency in the Council of the EU. Such countries in 2018 were Bulgaria and Austria, which actually blocked the adoption of the proposal of the European Commission. Since January 1, 2019, Romania has been chaired in the EU, and now it is actively starting up. On January 9, Bucharest presented its vision of the document, and on January 15 this question was heard at the level of the working group in the Council of the EU.
According to Romanian Foreign Minister Theodore Melescan, his country will vote for a draft directive if it is supported by the majority. “We do not take any position. Our duty is to try to find a consensus that will be acceptable to most states”.