Borrell Points to ‘Energy Dimension’ Existing in All That Concerns Russia, Ukraine

© REUTERS / POOLHigh Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell arrives to attend an European Union Summit with all 27 EU leaders at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium December 16, 2021.
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell arrives to attend an European Union Summit with all 27 EU leaders at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium December 16, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.12.2021
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BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell claims that Russia is trying to pressure the European Union into completing the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline faster.
"Russia has used energy as a tool for political influence (see for instance in Moldova), and while it is strictly speaking fulfilling its commitments on gas supplies, many see its current refusal to increase export volumes to Europe or to re-fill Gazprom-owned storage facilities as a means to exert pressure on the EU and specifically to secure the regulatory licensing of Nord Stream 2," Borrell said on his blog on Sunday.
He pointed out that European energy prices have been extraordinarily high and have risen by around 300 percent since this summer and by 40 percent this month alone. In such circumstances, the political discourse involving Ukraine is inevitably linked to the issue of gas imports, Borrell said.
"Any discussion on Russia/Ukraine/Belarus includes the energy dimension, given that 40% of EU gas imports come from Russia, principally through three transit routes: Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic Sea," Borrell explained.
Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, OMV, Engie, Uniper, and Wintershall. The project is designed to carry natural gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. The pipeline was completed in September and is now undergoing certification in Germany, which has been stalled by the Federal Network Agency's demand to create a German subsidiary and then file a separate bid on its behalf.
According to the German energy regulator, the decision on Nord Stream 2 certification will not be made in the first half of 2022.
The new German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said earlier this month that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline could not be permitted in its current form because it did not comply with EU law. The declaration led to a sharp rise in European gas prices.
Russia's permanent representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said last week that the decision to extend the certification period for Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is political as there is no logical reason for it.
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