The European commissioner for budget and human resources, Gunther Oettinger, has stated in an interview with Germany's Funke media group that Nord Stream 2's construction is already "unstoppable" at the current stage, as it's almost already complete. At the same time, he insisted that once it is fully built, the pipeline still needs to operate in accordance with the amended Third Energy Package — a set of EU rules for regulating the energy market.
Oettinger pointed out that this means that there should be an independent system operator and independent transmission operators, as well as that all gas producers should have access to the pipeline. He also added that the pricing must be transparent.
The commissioner further stated that every decision of German regulatory bodies in regards to Nord Stream 2 will be scrutinised by the European Commission and will require its approval. Oettinger noted that not all of the EU energy requirements will be easily met by the Russian pipeline, expecting some obstacles to pop up.
Oettinger has supported European People's Party leader Manfred Weber, a German-born candidate for the presidency of the European Commission, who earlier vowed to block the Nord Stream 2 pipeline by any means necessary. Weber claims that the pipeline is not in the EU's interests, as it will increase the bloc's dependence on Russia.
German authorities, and namely Chancellor Angela Merkel, have repeatedly come to the defence of the pipeline project, stating that it is in the bloc's interests and that it doesn't compromise either the EU's or Germany's energy security.
Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture between Russia's Gazprom, Germany's Uniper and Wintershall, France's Engie, Austria's OMV, and Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell which envisions the construction of a two-line gas pipeline along the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The pipeline is expected to deliver 55 billion cubic metres (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of Russian gas per year to the EU once it's completed.