Poland's Prime Minister Accuses Germany, Nord Stream 2 of Driving Up European Gas Prices
19:19 GMT 19.10.2021 (Updated: 21:18 GMT 19.10.2022)
© AP Photo / Dmitry LovetskyIn this April 9, 2010 file photo, a Russian construction worker speaks on a mobile phone in Portovaya Bay some 170 km (106 miles) northwest of St. Petersburg, Russia, during a ceremony marking the start of construction for the Nord Stream pipeline.
© AP Photo / Dmitry Lovetsky
Gas prices have been spiking in Europe since summer, breaching the $1,000 per thousand cubic metres ceiling amid the cold autumn, a shortage of external LNG supplies and the EU gas reservoirs not being filled as they had been in previous years.
Responding to a barrage of criticism in the European Parliament, Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki lashed out at Germany, claiming that its support for the Nord Stream 2 project had driven European gas prices up.
"Today, when we are all affected by rising gas prices - it is easy to see what can be the results of short-sightedness in matters of energy security. Gazprom's policy and consent for Nord Stream 2 are already resulting in record-high gas prices".
His insinuations, apparently, didn't have the desired effect, as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen castigated Morawiecki for trying to avoid discussing and resolving the issues at hand – namely the Polish Constitutional Court's decision that had called parts of the Treaty on the European Union incompatible with Poland's constitution and put the country's laws above those of the EU. The move sparked criticism in Brussels and fears of a possible Polexit.
"With coming with Nord Stream 2, your arguments are not getting better, you are just escaping the debate".
In his speech, Prime Minister Morawiecki apparently referred to the allegations that Russia is deliberately holding back gas supplies to drive the prices up and justify the launch of the pipeline, long criticised by Warsaw. The Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed such accusations, but admitted that the launch of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would help in delivering greater volumes of natural gas to Europe, whose gas reservoirs remain underfilled ahead of winter. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline passed pre-launch trials, but is still waiting for certification and permission from Berlin to start pumping gas.
15 October 2021, 11:52 GMT
The heated debate comes as Europe continues to suffer from spiking natural gas prices. Fuel traded at $1,081 per thousand cubic metres on 18 October and went above $1,150 the following day. The arguments continue as to what caused the rapid rise in gas prices. Among the reasons named is the fact that the EU gas reservoir has remained unfilled ahead of winter as well as the drop in LNG supplies, as a large number of shipments have been bought by Asian economies, especially China. Some experts have also noted the revival of economic activity and increased energy consumption as other possible factors that may have driven the prices higher.