What New EU Gas Pipeline Rules Mean for Ukraine
27 April, 2018

Concerns over the European Union’s dependence on Russian natural gas have continuously delayed the construction of the Nord Stream II pipeline. Now, two more “major and for Ukrainian interests positive developments” have taken place, says German member of European Parliament Rebecca Harms.

The European Parliament recently decided that gas pipelines coming from countries neighboring EU territories must comply with the same regulations as internally organized pipelines. According to Harms, this brings “new competition rules” into the agreements that Germany has prepared for Russian gas giant Gazprom.

READ MORE: Is The Nord Stream II Pipeline Bad For Europe?

Furthermore, she said: “Chancellor Angela Merkel recently declared publicly in Germany that Nord Stream II is not a simple economic project, it's a project of strategic importance and it has to be dealt with also under aspects of international security.”

Harms describes this declaration as a “milestone” in the debate over Nord Stream II and claims that it should improve conditions for preserving Ukrainian transit interests. That being said, she also points to the paradox of investing in Nord Stream II given that Russian aggression in Ukraine in ongoing:

“I think to keep Ukraine in the business of transit is important. On the other hand, even without those interests I would say it makes no sense to have economic sanctions against Russia because of the war in Donbas and occupation of Crimea and at the same time make big business with state owned companies, transfer billions of euros to Russia so that Mr. Putin can invest more in his aggressive army.”

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Instead, Harms insists that “diversification of import would be much better for energy security in the European Union.”

While those in favor of Nord Stream continue to argue that Germany needs Russian natural gas, Harms says that in her opinion the best option is push for compliance with the 2016 Paris climate accord.

“As a Green politician I am also convinced that we should comply with the Paris Agreements. We have signed in Paris the goal, as our goal, fully decarbonization of our economic system, of our countries and this means that no further investment in fossil fuel infrastructure should happen.”

READ MORE: Can Nord Stream II Play By The New Rules?