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    Merkel: European Commission to Be Unable to Stop Implementation of Nord Stream 2

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Commission will be unable to stop the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project, with the new amendments to the EU Gas Directive, which stipulate the rules of operation for the offshore sections of gas pipelines in the EU, not expected to have a completely restrictive effect, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

    During discussions in the German city of Ravensburg on Wednesday evening, Merkel said that, at the EU level, the pipeline project had for the most part been approved.

    "The Gas Directive gives the European Commission more leverage for objections, but it will not obstruct [its implementation]", Merkel said, as quoted by Handelsblatt newspaper.

    The chancellor said she considered the project "acceptable".

    Merkel also reiterated that gas transit through Ukraine remained an important issue.

    "Ukraine must remain a transiting country, despite Nord Stream 2", the German leader said.

    She recalled that that this issue had been discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin and that she was planning to raise it with Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

    Te statement comes after the Council of the European Union passed on 15 April amendments to the EU Gas Directive that would extend EU principles on tariff regulation, ownership unbundling and transparency to all pipelines entering the bloc from non-EU countries. As such, the regulations may affect the pipeline's construction.

    The amendments will take effect on 23 May, after which EU states will have nine months to incorporate the new rules into their nations laws.

    READ MORE: Austria Welcomes US LNG, But Not as Substitute to Nord Stream 2 — Minister

    Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russian gas giant Gazprom and five European companies: France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, British-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall. The 745-mile-long pipeline is set to deliver Russian gas to Germany that will then be distributed to European consumers.

    The project has been welcomed by some countries in Europe and opposed by others who are concerned over the alleged danger of Europe becoming dependent on Russia and Ukraine having its transit role be diminished as a result. Moscow has given multiple reassurances that the pipeline is a purely commercial project.

    Related:

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    Austria Welcomes US LNG, But Not as Substitute to Nord Stream 2 – Minister
    EC Says Ready to Listen to Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline Operator's Arguments
    US Envoy to Germany Threatens Nord Stream 2 Firms With Sanctions AGAIN
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    gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, Angela Merkel, Germany
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