Will Nord Stream 2 be last Russia's project in Europe?
Germany should not have taken a decision on the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline in Europe single-handedly, Munich Security Conference chairman Wolfgang Ischinger believes.
“If we want a European foreign policy, then we should also have a common foreign energy policy. In the future, such decisions should not be taken single-handedly,” an experienced German diplomat told Deutschlandfunk.
According to him, if Europe is committed to a common European foreign policy, then energy policy cannot be bracketed. "The fact that we believed that we could complete it as a project which is not subject to a pan-European consensus and decision making was a minor inherent defect in Germany’s policy on the Nord Stream 2 issue," Ischinger said.
At the same time, he warned that allowing the failure of the project would be a violation of German policy's fundamental principles. If it is done by amending the existing rules, it will be a violation of the principles that have always been very important for Germany's political behavior, Ischinger said.
The main lesson from the Nord Stream 2 controversy is that something like this should not happen again. “In the future, such projects should be European-based,” Ischinger stressed.
A leading analyst of the National Energy Security Fund, a lecturer at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Igor Yushkov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Wolfgang Ischinger rather advocates American interests, than European ones, and the factor of American influence will spoil any prospects of introducing a consensus energy policy in the European Union.
"It would be really beneficial for the EU countries to introduce a common energy policy and ensure EU energy security together, but only if they defend their own interests, not foreign ones. Ischinger, who recently attended the Gaidar Forum in Moscow, pursued a rather critical line in relation to Russia, for example, he said that Russia should fulfill the Minsk agreements alone, after which the West would settle the Ukrainian crisis, and absolutely did not want to hear that Russia had already fulfilled everything she had to. “He demanded that Russia should remain in the INF treaty after the U.S. exit and , things like that,” Igor Yushkov said.
“If all EU countries defended only European interests and thought only of their own energy security, Russia would support the introduction of a common energy policy with both hands. Meanwhile, the experience of Nord Stream 2 shows that some EU countries often pursue policies in the interests of foreign suppliers, such as the U.S. In purely economic terms, Nord Stream 2 only strengthens the EU’s energy security, as Russia diversifies gas delivery routes to Europe by building a completely new gas pipeline, which will work more reliably than 30-40-year-old Ukrainian gas pipelines that have not undergone modernization," the expert pointed out.
"For some reason, they rarely say that LNG terminals for 200 billion cubic meters of gas have been built in Europe. Every year they are filled only by a quarter, that is, technically, the EU can purchase alternative gas in the volumes supplied by Russia. Theoretically Europe will be able to do without Russia's pipeline gas - but it does not happen, moreover, Gazprom has set records in terms of European gas exports for three years in a row. American LNG is more expensive than our pipeline gas," he explained.
“It is also important that the EU’s common energy policy, in fact, already exists, and Nord Stream 2 is implemented by Gazprom strictly according to European rules. But Wolfgang Ischinger wants gas pipelines permits were issued by Brussels, not by the governments which will use these pipes. The EU energy union is being created precisely with a view to such regulation - indicating to each company who can buy gas and who cannot. It doesn't look like it was done in the interests of European countries and consumers," a lecturer at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation concluded.