The Nord Stream Gas Pipeline Project and its Strategic Implications

17-12-2007

The Nord Stream Gas Pipeline (NSGP) project is revealing of the current tensions in relations between the EU and Russia. It highlights the problem of bilateral deals undermining a common EU approach towards Russia. Poland and the Baltic States have been vociferous in their criticism of Germany signing this deal with Russia which they allege is hugely expensive, damaging to EU solidarity, and could have security implications. The appointment of the former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, to chair the supervisory board of Nord Stream has also attracted criticism. The Nordic states have emphasized the importance of environmental issues. The European Commission has supported the deal as part of the Trans European Networks (TENS) and as part of the EU's efforts to diversify energy supplies. Russia has promoted the deal as ensuring long-term gas supplies to Europe. The NSGP is supposed to deliver 25% of the additional gas import needs of EU25 in 2015. There are many other concerns relating to the NSGP covering political, legal, economic and security issues. The NSGP is in many ways a reflection of EU-Russia relations, revealing the many different interests involved on the EU side. The wider issues include whether the EU can agree on a) an internal energy policy b) an external energy security policy c) a common approach towards Russia.

The Nord Stream Gas Pipeline (NSGP) project is revealing of the current tensions in relations between the EU and Russia. It highlights the problem of bilateral deals undermining a common EU approach towards Russia. Poland and the Baltic States have been vociferous in their criticism of Germany signing this deal with Russia which they allege is hugely expensive, damaging to EU solidarity, and could have security implications. The appointment of the former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, to chair the supervisory board of Nord Stream has also attracted criticism. The Nordic states have emphasized the importance of environmental issues. The European Commission has supported the deal as part of the Trans European Networks (TENS) and as part of the EU's efforts to diversify energy supplies. Russia has promoted the deal as ensuring long-term gas supplies to Europe. The NSGP is supposed to deliver 25% of the additional gas import needs of EU25 in 2015. There are many other concerns relating to the NSGP covering political, legal, economic and security issues. The NSGP is in many ways a reflection of EU-Russia relations, revealing the many different interests involved on the EU side. The wider issues include whether the EU can agree on a) an internal energy policy b) an external energy security policy c) a common approach towards Russia.