BRUSSELS, March 4. /TASS/. The European Commission is ready to negotiate with Russia on the Nord Stream 2 project on behalf of the European Union, if it receives the mandate of the EU Council, the request for which was already rejected in 2017, Dominique Ristory, Director-General of the Directorate-General for Energy, told a press conference after a meeting of the Council of EU.
"Before the proposed amendment to this directive back in June 2017, the amendment came in November, but we suggested negotiating mandate with the Russian Federation. This mandate is still on the table in Council and if the Council wants to move forward, we are willing to shoulder our responsibilities in the negotiations, once of course we have the mandate to that effect," he said.
The European Commission asked the EU member-states to give it a mandate to negotiate with Russia on Nord Stream 2 and to secure the conclusion of a bilateral agreement with Russia to regulate this project. By doing this it hoped to ensure Brussels’ control over the project and to transfer the decision on the construction of this gas pipeline from the level of interstate relations between the Russian Federation and Germany to the level of relations between the Russian Federation and the entire European Union.
After the EU Council rejected it, the European Commission began to finalize the Gas Directive, which is currently in its final stages, in order to legislatively extend the European energy norms to the Nord Stream 2 project, which is located outside the EU.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is expected to come into service at the end of 2019. The pipeline is set to run from the Russian coast along the Baltic Sea bed to the German shore. Each of the pipeline’s two stretches will have a capacity of 27.5 bln cubic meters. The total cost of the project has been estimated at 9.5 bln euro.
The pipeline will go through the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of five countries - Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, thus bypassing transit countries of Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other Eastern European and Baltic states. Only Denmark has not issued permission for the construction. Gazprom noted that they could use an alternative route if Denmark does not issue a permit.
Nord Stream 2 AG, with Gazprom being the only shareholder, is the operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline construction project. Gazprom's European partners in the project are Germany’s Wintershall and Uniper, Austria’s OMV, France’s Engie and Royal Dutch Shell.