BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — The United States is putting diplomatic pressure on EU members in order to prevent the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project and therefore remove Russia's Gazprom energy giant from EU energy market, a diplomatic source told Sputnik.
"The United States is seeking to 'bury' this project, because if it starts selling own liquefied gas to EU states, it will face a competitor in Europe represented by Gazprom," the source said.
On Thursday, European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic said that Brussels still hoped to receive a mandate to negotiate the key principles of the Nord Stream 2 project operation with Russia from the EU member states.
The European Commission has taken several steps to make the project comply with EU rules, including by requesting the negotiating mandate, which should be approved by the EU member states.
At the same time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that a special EU mandate for talks on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project was not necessary, but added that several legal issues remain to be cleared up.
The US Senate bill has already prompted criticism within the European Union. Last week, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern accused the United States of attempting to squeeze out supplies of Russian natural gas from the European market and promote US liquefied gas supplies, something which will undermine European companies. The two officials stressed that the issue of energy supplies to Europe was the European Union's own business and that the United States should not interfere.