Merkel Announces EU Reached Agreement on Nord Stream 2

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European Union member states were set to discuss extending European Union gas-market regulations to offshore pipelines such as the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline at a meeting in Brussels on February 8.

"France intends to support the adoption of such a directive".

In its current form, Nord Stream 2, fully owned by Russian state energy firm Gazprom, would not be compliant with tougher new rules foreseen for new infrastructure projects. "Work is continuing with our partners, in particular with Germany, on possible changes to the text", French foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said in a briefing.

Any delay in building the pipeline would create uncertainty for Gazprom's partners: Germany's Uniper and BASF's Wintershall unit, Anglo-Dutch Shell, Austria's OMV and France's Engie.

A big priority for the European Union is to increase competition too, and instead of a patchwork of different agreements for pipelines entering the bloc it wants Nord Stream 2 to come under internal European Union rules on transparency and separating ownership of the pipes from the supplier. Gas is due to start arriving in Germany by the end of the year. They will extend EU energy rules to gas pipelines from third countries to Europe and will give the European Commission power to demand a separation of gas sales and pipeline operating activities, as well as third-party access to a pipeline.

In a joint op-ed published by Germany's Deutsche Welle, the USA ambassadors to Germany, Denmark, and the European Union on February 7 urged EU member states to support the proposed change in the EU regulations.

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At the same time, France changed its position and made a decision to support the proposed amendments despite Germany's objections.

Nord Stream 2 will only increase Russia's supply, it also means that, along with its TurkStream project, Russian Federation will be able to bypass Ukrainian pipelines. It is believed that the amendments in question mainly target the Russian pipeline project Nord Stream 2. He added, however, that it sought "guarantees for the security of Europe and for the security and stability of Ukraine".

"Do we become dependent on Russian Federation due to this second gas pipeline?"

Nord Stream 2 faces opposition from many countries in eastern and central Europe, the United States and particularly Ukraine because it risks increasing Europe's dependence on Russian natural gas. "I say "no", if we diversify at the same time", Merkel told a news conference in Bratislava.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, cited by Reuters, announced that European states have reached an agreement on the issue of Nord Stream 2.

In the United States, a bipartisan group of senators drafted a resolution calling for the cancelation of the pipeline project, and leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said they would take up the resolution at their next meeting.