France back EU stance on Nord Stream 2

France back EU stance on Nord Stream 2

Efforts from Brussels to regulate the Russian led Nord Stream 2 gas project have been bolstered by support from the French for proposed EU energy rules on the pipeline, despite German opposition.

Although the proposal does not have the leverage to stop the pipeline, it could restructure the operation and economics of the project.

A French Foreign ministry spokesperson said: “The revision of the gas directive aims to apply the rules of the third energy package to all gas pipelines with third countries entering the European territory. The revised directive would apply to the Nord Stream 2 project. France intends to support the adoption of such a directive.”

The Gazprom-led project would have the ability to double the amount of Russian gas supplied to Germany via the Baltic Sea, which critics have said would remove an important source of income for Ukraine.

While Berlin and other supporters of the pipeline have stated the project is purely commercial, those that oppose the Nord Stream 2 argue that it is against the EU’s objective to reduce the bloc’s dependence on Russian energy and risks harming Kiev.

The conflict over policy between Paris and Berlin comes just weeks after President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel signed a Franco-German co-operation treaty.

Last week, the French ministry said that “work is continuing with our partners, in particular with Germany, on possible changes to the text”.

The proposed changed, first put forward in 2017, would mean all new and existing import pipelines would have to meet four principles, which include non-discriminatory tariffs; transparent reporting and at least 10% of the capacity offered to third parties.

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