The future of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline remains uncertain, now that a majority in the European Parliament has voted against the project. A new resolution that was adopted earlier this month states that the pipeline is a political project that poses a threat to Europe’s energy security.
The document, which is part of the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine, states that Europe must stop the construction of this new pipeline. Instead of importing more energy from Russia, countries are asked to find other suppliers. Below is the relevant part of the resolution that was adopted this month.
“79. Reiterates the crucial role of Ukraine in the European energy supply network; condemns the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as it is a political project that poses a threat to European energy security and the efforts to diversify energy supply; calls for the project to be cancelled”
Uncertainty surrounding Nord Stream 2
It is noteworthy that this resolution was adopted by a large majority of 433 votes in favor and 105 votes against, given the fact that there are major economic interests involved. The Heads of Government of the countries involved in the construction of the pipeline have emphasized time and again that the Nord Stream 2 is a purely economical project. With this new pipeline, European countries can increase imports of cheap natural gas directly from Russia.
The alternative to the Nord Stream 2 is to import more natural gas via existing and poorly maintained pipelines through Ukraine. European countries could also import more liquefied natural gas from countries such as the United States and Qatar, which is much more expensive than gas through pipelines from Russia.
Route of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (Source: Gazprom)
Economical or political project?
The spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said in a press conference that the position of the European Parliament has nothing to do with economic foundations and energy needs, but is only politically motivated. She called the position of the European Parliament incomprehensible, because according to her European countries need more energy sources.
According to Zakharova, the Nord Stream 2 is a peaceful and promising project that offers many benefits. She suspects European Members of Parliament of receiving money from certain groups of lobbyists. The interference of the United States in undermining the project is, in her view, an example of unfair competition.
It is unclear what consequences the adoption of this resolution has on the construction of the Nord Stream 2. On the website of the project we read that back in november more than 200 kilometers of pipeline were built already. On the day the European Parliament expressed its opposition to the energy project, the company behind the Nord Stream 2 said that the 382-meter long “Pioneering Spirit” was on its way to construct the pipeline.