Polish Briefing 6 November, 2019 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Polish Briefing: Germany wants to evade the gas directive entrapping Nord Stream 2

What goes on in Poland on the 6th of November.

Gas Directive

According to the German daily Bild, the CDU/CSU and SPD coalition parties in the German government have proposed an amendment to the law ratifying the amendment to the gas directive. The directive is to subordinate Nord Stream 2 to European law and hamper any abuse of Gazprom. The amendment, however, is to delete its key provision – says German Bild.

The EU gas directive amended this year provides for the obligation to separate the gas pipeline operator independent of the gas supply company. The amendment also allowed it to include gas pipelines from third countries such as Nord Stream 2. As a result of its implementation, Gazprom could no longer be the owner of the gas pipeline and at the same time sell gas sent through it. – It makes the operation of Nord Stream 2 in Russian conditions almost impossible – emphasizes Bild. Russian law gives Gazprom a monopoly on the export of natural gas outside Russia. The amended directive may not cover gas pipelines that were “completed” before May 23, 2019. These may count on exemption from regulation.

Nord Stream 2 still under construction

Nord Stream 2 is still under construction and its completion will not be possible until mid-2020. This is due to the period of protection of birds that lasts from October 31 to May 15, 2020 in the protection zone separated in the German exclusive economic zone. This is where the German part of Nord Stream 2 is supposed to run.

The company Nord Stream 2 AG managing the project received permission to build a gas pipeline in the exclusive economic zone of Denmark on October 30. The project is completed in 83 percent. It involves the construction of two threads, each 1200 km long. For this reason, Nord Stream 2 cannot be qualified as “completed” within the meaning of the amended Gas Directive and thus excluded from the legal regime of the new EU regulation.

“Nord Stream 2 Amendment”

German Bild reminds that in September the German government presented a draft ratification of the amendment to the gas directive, which includes the provision of May 23, 2019. However, the documents of the German daily show that this was not included in the amendment tabled by the parliamentary group on November 5 by the ruling coalition CDU/CSU and SPD.

According to the coalition parties, the gas directive “gives a privileged status to implemented investments to meet legitimate expectations. (…) In this context, when determining whether a project has been completed before the date of entry into force, all the circumstances of the case should be taken into account. “The amendment therefore implies replacing the date with” existing investments “. It would mean that ongoing investments – like Nord Stream 2 – could be exempted.

The Commission may block the amendment of the grand coalition

However, such a solution may cause a reaction of the European Commission. – It (amendment in the form described in the article – editor’s note) would be a clear violation of the EU directive, which according to Bild’s information would be considered “unacceptable” in Brussels.

Under the amended directive, the European Commission has the option of assessing and, if necessary, rejecting the derogation requested by the national regulatory authority. This could happen, for example, if the Commission and the Member State could not agree on the date of completion of the pipeline submitted for ratification.