Members of the European Parliament’s energy and industry committee on Wednesday approved proposed changes to the EU’s Gas Directive that could hinder the construction of Nord Stream 2, a controversial planned gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.
The Eurodeputies voted to accept a report on “common rules for the internal market in natural gas” by Polish MEP Jerzy Buzek, head of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.
The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, in early November unveiled proposals for changes to the bloc’s Gas Directive which reports suggest could scupper plans for the gas link from Russia to Germany, a pipeline that would bypass Poland and other countries in its region.
Under the amendment proposed by the European Commission, the entire Nord Stream 2 pipeline, including the part that would run under the Baltic Sea, would explicitly be subject to EU law.
The proposed new rules would apply to all pipelines to and from non-EU countries, including existing pipelines and future ones, according to reports.
According to Poland’s PAP news agency, the European Commission proposal means that Russian gas giant Gazprom would have to allow other companies interested in transmitting gas to use Nord Stream 2. This could make the project less profitable for Gazprom, the agency has said.
According to Buzek, some of the stipulations in the Commission’s original proposal need to be made stricter and more precise.
Once the amendment is adopted by the European Parliament and Council of the European Union, the changes will “constitute a significant step towards the completion of the Energy Union,” the European Commission said in November.
If built, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would supply around 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, circumventing Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine.
Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine all oppose the project.
Heather Nauert said at a department press briefing that companies engaged in the construction and financing of the pipeline “could expose themselves to sanctions” under US law.