EU Parliament mulls block on Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline
A group of EU lawmakers have drafted a resolution that would impose new sanctions on Russia and scupper the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, ignoring recent calls from the bloc’s top politicians for more constructive relations.
The motion, put forward by representatives of some of the assembly’s largest political groupings, says that recent rows with Moscow over the buildup of troops on the border with Ukraine and the jailing of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny shows the need for tough action against the country. However, due to the nature of the EU system, even if adopted it is unlikely to come into effect.
The MEPs "insist that the EU should reduce its dependence on Russian energy," while urging all member states, "therefore, to stop the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline." The project, which is expected to be completed in the coming months, has been supported by the German government despite the U.S. imposing sanctions on firms involved in its construction.
At the same time, the draft resolution condemns Moscow’s decision to deploy troops on the border with Ukraine, which Russian officials say was in response to increased activity of Kiev’s own army, as well as NATO forces. If such a buildup were to become what they term as an "invasion," the lawmakers say that "the EU must make clear that the price for such a violation of international law and norms would be severe."
Among the measures they put forward in response to the scenario is that "imports of oil and gas from Russia to the EU be immediately stopped." At the same time, "Russia should be excluded from the SWIFT payment system, and all assets in the EU of oligarchs close to the Russian authorities and their families in the EU need to be frozen and their visas cancelled."
Although the proposals are due to be voted on by a plenary session of the parliament on Thursday, even if adopted in full, the motion would not be binding. Such a move would have to be signed off by the Council of the EU, made up of representatives from national governments. Given growing concern over the impact of hostile ties with Russia, it appears that the prospects of them adopting such a decision is not yet on the cards.