Berlin and Paris bury hatchet over controversial Russian gas pipeline

Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Emmanuel Macron at France Armistice Day

Germany Russia Defend Nord Stream 2 As France Joins EU Anti Pipeline Move Sputnik Irina Kalashnikova

The proposed changes would effectively extend existing rules to cover offshore pipelines.

The newer draft, seen by Reuters, suggests Berlin is looking to take the lead on authorising the pipeline, which will run from Russian Federation directly to Germany.

Katja Yafimava, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, told New Europe that there has been a proposal agreed by France and Germany on which the vote on February 8 in favour of the amendment was conditioned.

"It would be fatal, if a fully approved billion-euro project, in which billions have been invested, could suddenly no longer be carried out", OMV CEO Rainer Seele said earlier this week. Friday's vote, put on the agenda by Romania - which now holds the rotating presidency of the EU - will not be binding, but instead move to the European Parliament for negotiation. In November 2017, the EC proposed extending European Union energy rules to gas pipelines from third countries to Europe.

Putting EU energy independence at risk? It has also suggested that companies involved in the pipeline project could be vulnerable to energy-related sanctions against Russian Federation.

Although Russia accounts for 30 percent of gas imports to Europe, natural gas makes up less than 10 percent of the bloc's overall energy mix.

The current European Union regulations do not apply to pipelines like Nord Stream 2 but if the amendments were adopted, Brussels would gain leverage over the project.

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The German government threatened in a dispute over the Nord Stream 2 to the last defeat.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been highly controversial since its announcement in 2015 and the United States of America has spent years attempting to derail the pipeline into Europe. President Donald Trump's administration has been pushing against it.

Opponents of the pipeline worry it will weaken support for Ukraine by depriving Kyiv of gas transit fees along the traditional route for Russian supplies, which fill over a third of the EU's gas needs. Trump has criticized German payments to Russian Federation as he says it only strengthens Moscow's position in the region, especially as regards Ukraine. "Germany will expand its gas terminals with liquefied gas", she said at the Visegrad Summit in Jerusalem. Ebert added that those same representatives oppose rule changes as they would only fuel uncertainty.

It 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.

France's foreign ministry said in a statement: "France has been, for several months, the target of repeated, baseless attacks and outrageous statements".

"But it would not be one-sided dependency".

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