Annalena Baerbock, leader of the Greens, has come out in favour of not granting a concession for the operation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. According to European energy law, there should be a rule regarding the independence of gas pipeline operators from gas suppliers, she stressed to the media from the Funke group.
– As long as it is one and the same company, the operating licence cannot be granted – underlines Baerbock, who accuses Russia of playing poker with energy prices. We cannot allow ourselves to be blackmailed,’ she adds. According to media reports, Russia had earlier asked Germany to certify the pipeline by 8 January, reports Die Welt.
The pipeline, which is about 1,200 km long, is to transport gas from Russia to Germany. The Federal Network Agency is currently reviewing the application for its certification. In particular, it is concerned with whether the operators comply with EU rules on so-called unbundling, the EU rule on the independence of gas pipeline operators from suppliers.
Sergey Nechayev, Russian Ambassador to Germany, believes that NS2 “corresponds to the interests of the German economy and population, guarantees energy security. Moreover, it is a project of several European countries. “Natural gas supplies are not a means of political pressure for Russia, but good business for all parties involved,” Nechayev said in comments to the Berliner Zeitung.
– People linked to state-owned Gazprom and the Kremlin have also signalled that European consumers can only expect additional gas supplies to ease the current energy shortage if they are prepared to do something in return: give official approval for the pipeline to start supplying them, Die Welt adds.
The pipeline operator said on Monday that the first pipe was filled with so-called technical gas and prepared for operation, but that “gas will only be able to be transmitted once official approval has been given”. The news comes just hours after gas prices in Europe skyrocketed on news that Gazprom is “limited in its ability to transport the fuel to Europe via other routes,” reminds “Die Welt” and stresses that “with relations with the European Union strained after years of sanctions and other misunderstandings, the Kremlin does not want to do Europeans a favor.”
At an energy conference in Moscow last week, President Vladimir Putin suggested that Russia was able to offer more gas. At the same time, he pointed to slow action in the Nord Stream 2 licensing process, which could drag on into next year.