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    Council of EU Passes Amendments to Europe's Gas Directive

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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The Council of the European Union has approved on Monday the amendments to the EU Gas Directive. These amendments stipulate the rules of operation of the offshore sections of gas pipelines in the EU and thus may affect the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

    "The Council today [April 15] formally adopted an amendment to the so-called gas directive which aims at closing a legal gap in the EU's regulatory framework and boosting competition in the gas market. This is the final step in the legislative process," the Council's press release said.

    According to the materials of the Council, the amendments were passed without discussion. The changes will enter into force 20 days after the date of their publication in the EU's official press. The EU states have nine months to incorporate the new rules into their national legislation.

    "The overall objective of the amendment to the gas directive is to ensure that the rules governing the EU's internal gas market apply to gas transmission lines between a member state and a third country, up to the border of the member state's territory and territorial sea," the press release added.

    READ MORE: Construction of Nord Stream 2 to Be Continued Despite New Gas Directive — Envoy

    The European Parliament passed the amendments on April 4.

    They stipulate that the existing and future pipelines cannot be operated by the same company that produces the fuel.

    Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russian gas giant Gazprom and five European companies. It aims to deliver 55 billion cubic meters (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of Russian natural gas annually to the European Union.

    READ MORE:US Vice President Lashes Out at Germany Over Defence Spending, Nord Stream 2

    Some European countries have welcomed the project, while others remain opposed to it, raising concerns over the alleged danger of Europe's dependence on Russia and the subsequent diminished transit role of Ukraine.

    Moscow has repeatedly stressed that the pipeline is a purely commercial project.

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    Nord Stream 2, gas, European Council, European Union
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