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Germany wants Nord Stream pipeline, EU doesn't agree

Staff writer |
Germany ran into resistance on plans for an expansion of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, amid accusations that it conflicts with EU ambitions to become less dependent on Russian gas.

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The project foresees the construction of two new pipelines along the Nord Stream route, which connects Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. European companies E.ON, OMV and Anglo-Dutch Shell are involved in the project, and Russian gas giant Gazprom is the main stakeholder.

The expansion Nord Stream 2 would increase the capacity of Nord Stream and could allow Russia to supply gas to the EU without passing through Ukraine, where a conflict is raging between government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Germany has insisted that Ukraine continue to play a role as a gas transit country, but has also thrown its support behind Nord Stream 2. German Chancellor Angela Merkel underlined that it is "an economic project" with private investors involved.

But eastern and southern EU member states raised the issue at a summit of the bloc's 28 national leaders in Brussels on Friday.

The biggest problem lies in the fact that Nord Stream 2 appears to conflict with EU ambitions to rely less on Russian energy. The European Commission is currently assessing whether the project is in line with EU laws.

According to EU President Donald Tusk, estimates suggest the construction of Nord Stream 2 would concentrate 80% of Russian gas imports on just one route and increase Gazprom's share of the German market to more than 60%.

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