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Nord Stream 2 threatens to take EU to court over gas rules

Christian Fernsby ▼ | April 30, 2019
The company behind the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is threatening to sue the EU if it's not allowed to avoid new regulations that it says endanger the billions of euros that have been invested in the project.
Nord Stream 2 pipe
Europe   Nord Stream 2 CEO Matthias Warnig wrote to European Commission President
In a letter obtained by POLITICO, Nord Stream 2 CEO Matthias Warnig wrote to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that if the pipeline is not eligible for a derogation from the new rules, "the measure would be discriminatory against as an investor" and the EU may be breaking an international treaty.

The EU's Gas Directive was revamped earlier this year and extends the bloc's gas liberalization rules to cover new offshore gas pipelines from non-EU countries. It's an effort to bring the contentious Russia-backed project opposed by the Commission and many Central European countries but supported by Germany under the EU's regulatory umbrella.

The pipeline is to run 1,200 kilometers from Russia to Germany, but the new rules would only apply to the section of Nord Stream 2 in German territorial waters, a stretch of 54km.

Nord Stream 2 argues it is eligible for a "derogation" that applies to pipelines that are already "completed" when the new law is expected to kick in this summer. It says it wants to be treated in the same way as other comparable projects.

That's sparked a battle over the definition of "completed."

A Commission spokesperson said: "The pipeline has to be ready for commercial operation at the date of entry into force of the amended directive in order to be treated as an existing pipeline under the new legislation ... It is questionable whether Nord Stream 2 will be operational before entry into force of the amended directive."