Ever since the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project was launched by Gazprom, the Russian state controlled global energy company that holds the world’s largest gas reserves, its aims and consequences have been debated in capitals around our union.
Since Nord Stream 1 was built, major changes have taken place.
Most importantly, the EU has decided on the European Energy Union, aiming at ensuring that Europe has secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy.
One dimension of the Energy Union is to diversify Europe’s sources of energy and ensure energy security through solidarity and cooperation between member states.
It was a welcome and timely initiative, aiming at making the European continent stronger and its internal energy market fully integrated, transparent and more efficient.
As the guardian of the treaty and of the laws, the European Commission must now stand up for the Energy Union.
It should assure – by action – that the Energy Union stays as relevant and credible as an issue of this importance deserves.
Energy security is a necessity – for growth, jobs, competitiveness, not the least. However, it is also an issue with security policy implications, and should at a minimum be given as much attention and focus as other issues that the commission is now advocating to augment our security – such as enhanced defence cooperation.
The principles behind the Energy Union are simply far too important to turn into empty slogans on paper.
It is difficult to see how the Nord Stream 2 project is compatible with the spirit of the Energy Union.
Gazprom already has a dominant role on the European energy market, and given its control over the entire chain – from geological exploration, production, transportation, storage, to processing and sales of gas – it seems to be the antitheses of diversification in any sense of the word.
The company owns the world’s largest gas transmission system.
Already to date, Gazprom is the largest gas supplier in the European market.
In 2015, Gazprom’s gas share in European consumption grew to a record high of 34 percent, according to their own data.
In addition, it is difficult to overlook that behind the company we have the Russian state, with its assertive behaviour, openly challenging and calling into question the unity of the EU as well as occupying and waging wars in our neighbouring countries.
It is therefore time that the European Commission steps in and steps up and gives its assessment on the coherence of Nord Stream 2 with the objectives of the Energy Union, and if it deems necessary, takes legal action to stop it.
Anna Kinberg Batra is leader of Sweden’s Moderate Party and Gunnar Hoekmark is a member of the European Parliament for the Moderate Party, Sweden