03:38 GMT +312 November 2019
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    Europe 'Keeping Silent' on Nord Stream 2 Due to 'Pause' in Washington

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    Denmark and Sweden do not want to lose in the struggle over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Europe. According to political analyst Dmitry Solonnikov, the two countries cannot make an independent decision on the project and want to shift responsibility to European institutions.

    According to an article in the Danish newspaper Berlingske, Denmark does not want to lose in the struggle over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Copenhagen is getting cold feet on blocking the construction of the pipeline and waiting for a resolution from the European Commission. At the same time, Denmark understands that if implemented the project would be economically beneficial for the country.

    An agreement on Nord Stream 2, involving the expansion of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, was signed in early-September 2014, during the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia’s Vladivostok.

    The project includes two pipeline strings, with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year, from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

    "The Danish and Swedish government sent a letter to the European commission asking for an official evaluation of the project. Such a document would enable making a decision [on building Nord Stream 2] on the EU level, without the need for environmental authorization from Denmark and Sweden," the article read.

    According to the newspaper, the Danish government does want to find itself in a "difficult situation."

    "Denmark has to choose between souring ties with Russia or letting down its partners in Central and Eastern Europe," the article noted.

    According to the newspaper, Sweden is currently in the same situation.

    The European Commission is delaying its decision, waiting for the nod from the United States, according to Dmitry Solonnikov, director of the Institute for Modern National Development.

    "A recent report by the European Commission on a new economic market emphasized the need to diversify energy supplies to Europe. But the document didn’t even mention Nord Stream 2. This is likely to be Europe’s response to the pause by Washington," Solonikov told Radio Sputnik.

    According to the analyst, previously, during Barack Obama’s presidency, Brussels followed instructions from Washington which regarded Nord Stream 2 first of all as a political threat.

    "Now, the pressure has been lifted, but the White House is yet to formulate its stance on the issue. Nevertheless, the new US presidential administration seems to be more favorable for Russia’s energy projects. But until Washington’s stance is clearly designated Europe will keep silent," Solonnikov pointed out.

    As for Denmark and Sweden, they are also on standby because they do not want to take on the responsibility, the expert said.

    "Since EU institutions are silent, such countries like Denmark and Sweden are in a difficult situation because the pipeline is expected to run via their territories. It is impossible to bypass them. They would like to shift this responsibility on Brussels. If the European Commission said yes the problem would be immediately resolved. The same if Germany pursued its agenda. There are no economic obstacles for a positive outcome. The problem is political," he said.

    Ukraine fears that if the Nord Stream 2 is constructed Kiev will lose transit fees for Russian gas exported to Europe. According to Solonnikov, Denmark and Sweden are unlikely to protect Ukraine’s interests, except for under foreign pressure.

    "They are not concerned about Ukraine’s problem as a transit country. They are concerned about solidarity within the European Union," Solonnikov concluded.


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