Foreign Policy Research Institute

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Foreign Policy Research Institute

tel. +38 (044) 287 52 58

Russia’s Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline is a stumbling block between the United States and the European Union

On August 13, it became known that 24 EU states had signed a note against US intervention in the construction of Nord Stream-2. That is, only three countries refrained from signing the document. Among them, in particular, Poland, which is a strategic ally of the United States in Europe. The other two countries are unknown. The main claim concerns the extraterritorial application of sanctions, which European states consider a violation of international law. In this context, the number of states that have agreed to sign the note is impressive. After all, a number of states have previously criticized the Russian gas pipeline. However, the European Union has shown its unity in not accepting the US interference.

At the same time, US sanctions, although belatedly adopted, appear to be effective. Today, more than two hundred kilometers of the gas pipeline remains to be built, however, work has not resumed. Gazprom's German partner, energy company Uniper, has warned shareholders that construction of the pipeline may be delayed or not completed. The reason is US sanctions, which have caused significant losses to companies involved in construction. For its part, Poland also has recently hit Nord Stream-2, fining Gazprom 50 million euros. In contrast, Austria and Germany continue to incite other EU states against US sanctions and are in favor of completing construction as soon as possible. Thus, on August 10, during his visit to Russia, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas once again criticized the United States for opposing Nord Stream 2: "No state has the right to dictate the EU's energy policy. And it will not work. "

Upon completion of the construction and commissioning of Nord Stream 2, Germany will receive the status of an "energy hub", which will allow Berlin to become the main center for the transit and storage of Russian gas and its further distribution to Western Europe. This will mean increased sales revenues for German energy companies, as well as additional revenues from transit fees and taxes to the state and federal budgets. The above-mentioned factors have influenced the German government's position on Nord Stream-2, so that once again proves the political component of the Russian gas project.

In addition, the growing differences between the United States and the EU indicate that Russia is succeeding in achieving its other strategic goal of undermining the Euro-Atlantic partnership. The fundamental difference in the positions of the key players in the United States and Germany has a negative impact on transatlantic cooperation, which is currently under tension. This, in particular, emphasizes the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. A survey of European ambassadors to the United States has shown that transatlantic relations are now in the worst condition since the beginning of the new millennium[1].

At the same time, in our opinion, Russia will most likely find ways to complete the construction of the gas pipeline. It's only a matter of time. The construction of Nord Stream 2 will ensure Moscow's dominance in the European energy market. Given the recent launch of the Turkish Stream and Russia's efforts to complete the construction of a gas pipeline to Germany, there is a tendency for Russia to close its gas ring around Europe. The strategic goal for Russia in this context is to increase the dependence of European countries on Russian fuel and maintain a dominant position in the European market.

It creates additional risks for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Therefore, it is extremely important for Eastern European capitals to neutralize the negative impact of the project as effectively as possible, in particular, to achieve the full application of the European Union gas directive to Nord Stream-2. Countering Russia's gas pipeline requires close cooperation between partner states and tight coordination in this direction. In this context, it is extremely important for Ukraine to develop cooperation with Poland, which in the future may become a powerful gas hub in Europe by transporting gas from Norway to other European countries. In its turn, Ukraine can offer the potential of its facilities to store European fuel.