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Energy Nord Stream 2 12 May, 2017 11:30 am   
Editorial staff

New EU ambassador to Russia: German diplomat who will protect Nord Stream 2?

A German diplomat will be appointed as EU ambassador to Russia. He will promote a reset with Moscow and may contribute to the success of Nord Stream 2, which is criticized in Poland and other EU countries – writes Wojciech Jakóbik.

According to BiznesAlert.com, Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has put forward candidates for 43 EU ambassadors. The list does not include any Poles. The candidate for the EU embassy in Russia is German, and he may have a favorable view on the controversial Nord Stream 2 project.

Mogherini  has nominated 43 new ambassadors. In Russia the EU will be represented by Markus Ederer, former EU ambassador to China and current secretary of state at the German Foreign Ministry. Politico reported that he will be responsible for assisting “any future thawing of EU-Russia relations.”

This is quite possible because Ederer is an ally of Frank -Walter Steinmeier who is known for his pro-Russian views. From 2005 to 2010, when Steinmeier was Germany’s foreign minister, Ederer was Head of the Policy Planning at the Federal Foreign Office. Prior to that, from 2002 to 2005, he was the Director for Political and Economic Intelligence at the Federal Intelligence Service. That is when Germany was preparing the Nord Stream 1 project. Moreover, Ederer graduated from the same university in Passau as Martin Selmayr, who is considered Berlin’s grey eminence in the European Commission. BiznesAlert.com previously reported on Selmayr ‘s backstage involvement in the EC.

This nomination may mean that the EC will be in reality “blind” to any controversial activities undertaken by Russia. Meanwhile the Commission’s job is to decide on a number of important issues. It needs to end the antitrust investigation against Gazprom, where it has already proposed an amicable settlement.  It also has to negotiate on behalf of member states the legal regime for the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipe. It cannot be ruled out that Ederer will represent German, not European interests in these matters. Thus, he may contribute to the success of Nord Stream 2 despite the mounting opposition to the project among EU states.

In our piece on Martin Selmayr’s influence within the Commission we asked who was paralyzing the EC in relation to Nord Stream 2. The new EU ambassador in Moscow may turn out to be yet another roadblock to any decisive actions Brussels should take on the issue.

Nord Stream 2 is the second gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that goes under the Baltic Sea. Its capacity will be 55 bcm a year and it is owned by Gazprom. The critics of the project argue that it will impede the development of gas market in Central and Eastern Europe, strengthen Gazprom’s position in the region and undermine alternative supply sources, such as the LNG terminal in Świnoujście, or the Baltic Pipe, which is being planned by Poland, Denmark and Norway.

 



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