15:28 GMT +315 November 2019
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    Bundestag Fails to Pass Bill Shielding Nord Stream 2 From EU Gas Directive

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    BERLIN (Sputnik) - The vote in parliament came a day after Ukraine vowed to challenge Germany in court if it tried to soften EU rules that bar Russian gas giant Gazprom from pumping gas through Nord Stream 2.

    The German parliament failed on Friday night to pass a bill that regulates the amendments to the EU Gas Directive in Germany and de facto shields the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project from the new gas rules adopted this spring.

    "[Just] 133 votes cast, with 355 votes required to make a decision. Therefore, the parliament cannot make a decision. I am convening a new meeting on Friday, 8,November, at 9 a.m. [08:00 GMT]. The meeting is closed," the parliament's chairman said.

    The chairman did not specify when the issue would be reviewed again — consideration of such matters is usually postponed until the next meeting. As of now, the agenda for the Friday meeting does not include a review of the draft law.

    The European Commission amended its gas directive in April, which entered into force on 23 May. It stipulates that a third-party nation cannot own both the pipeline and gas imported into the EU market unless the conduit was built before 23 May 2019. Berlin, which has been championing the project since the start despite fierce opposition from the US, is advocating for the deadline to be pushed back to include the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

    Nord Stream 2 pipeline being laid.
    Nord Stream 2
    Nord Stream 2 pipeline being laid.

    However, EU member states have yet to transpose the amendments in their respective legislation. The amendments extend EU principles on tariff regulation, ownership unbundling and transparency to all pipelines entering the bloc from non-EU countries, and may, therefore, affect both the existing Nord Stream pipeline and the construction of Nord Stream 2.

    The Nord Stream 2 project is a joint venture between Gazprom and five European companies — France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, the UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall. The 745-mile-long twin pipeline will carry nearly 2 trillion cubic feet of gas per year from Russia to Germany, passing through the territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia and Sweden. 

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    gas, pipeline, Nord Stream 2, Germany
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