Nord Stream II Not in EU Interests, Donald Tusk SaysEU | December 18, 2015, Friday // 21:19| views
European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, EU council President Donald Tusk and Luxembourg`s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on their way to a press conference at the end of the second day of EU Summit in Brussels, Belgium, 18 December 2015. EPA/BGNE
Nord Stream II, a proposed new Russia-Germany gas pipeline, is not in the EU’s interests, the European Council President Donald Tusk has said.
“In my perspective, Nord Stream [II] does not help diversification, nor would it reduce our energy dependency,” Tusk said at a press conference in Brussels on Friday, according to euobserver.com.
Initially not on the agenda of a two-day summit, EU leaders discussed Nord Stream II on Friday morning as part of a wider debate on Energy Union, the bloc's energy strategy aimed at reducing the bloc’s dependence on dominant suppliers.
Nord Stream II has caused friction between northern and southern EU member states. The project calls for the construction of two new underwater pipelines on the Baltic Sea bed to deliver an additional 55 billion cubic metres of Russian gas per year to Germany and other EU member states, bypassing Ukraine – and most of Eastern Europe.
Tusk said that if Nord Stream II were to be built, it would concentrate an estimated 80% of EU imports of Russian gas on just one route.
"It would also lead to a dominant position of Gazprom on the German market by increasing its share to over 60%," Tusk said, referring to the Russian state-owned energy giant.
“For Italy, but also for Bulgaria and other member states, it was also important to clarify why South Stream was impossible, and Nord Stream II is possible,” Tusk said during the summit debate, according to euobserver.com
Russia announced in December 2014 it has abandoned South Stream – a pipeline project designed to carry Russian gas across the Black Sea to Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary to Austria and Italy, bypassing Ukraine - due to objections from the European Commission to Gazprom's plans to control the pipeline infrastructure.
On Friday in Brussels, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also said that there is now a need for "a reasonable argument" why "South Stream is bad and Nord Stream is acceptable," according to DPA.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi also addressed the issue of Nord Stream II, calling it "intriguing", according to ANSA.
The decision to double the capacity of Nord Stream "was approved on the sly after the elimination of South Stream last year," the Italian news agency quoted Renzi as saying. "Now the ball is in the (European) Commission's court."