Officials in Brussels and Berlin have promised to preserve the transit of gas through Ukraine after construction of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline, The Ukrinform news agency reports, citing a statement by the German Minister of Economy and Energy, Peter Altmaier, and Vice President of the European Commission for Energy, Maros Sefcovic.
“I must say that Ukraine, despite being in a difficult situation in the past several years, managed to deliver safely through its territory 97 billion cubic meters of gas during previous winters, making a new record,” Mr. Sefcovic stated. “This confirms the efficiency of this transit route and its strategic role in the gas supply—not only to such a large country as Ukraine, but also to countries of Central and Eastern Europe. And it is our priority to preserve this transit route.”
The European Commission’s approach to the Nord Stream-2 pipeline construction was to keep up with the rules generally applied to all pipelines in the EU, the Vice President explained.
“The best way to resolve legal issues and to bridge political differences is through negotiations,” Sefcovic said.
However, Mr. Altmaier admitted that the Nord Stream-2 pipeline was “a project with high political context” and assured that Germany had exercised all its leverage through the European Commission and EU leadership to ensure sufficient gas supply to Ukraine back and forth through the transit in the past.
“Our goal is to preserve sovereignty of Ukraine as an independent state and to support it in the future,” Altmaier stressed. “This includes reliable and sufficient energy supply.”
On March 21, members of the European Parliament passed a Bill of the European Commission extending the rules of the EU internal gas market to cover gas pipelines laid at the bottom of the sea. Brussels noted that the Nord Stream-2 project was in violation of the rules of the EU Third Energy Package (the European electricity and gas legislation), as the project was entirely owned by the Russian gas company Gazprom.
Parliaments of Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Estonia issued a joint statement warning against construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. Nonetheless, Finland provided its consent for the Nord Stream-2 construction, and German authorities issued permitting documents for the construction of a 30-kilometer gas line through its land.
The Nord Stream-2 pipeline consists of two parallel lines with a designed throughput capacity of approximately 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year.