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France Joins U.S. in Questioning Gas Pipeline Backed by Merkel

France Joins U.S. in Questioning Gas Pipeline Backed by Merkel”

The European Union is considering amendments to the Gas Directive that would bring pipelines coming into the bloc under EU energy rules.

France had long raised concerns in private about the pipeline, not wanting to be seen as supporting the USA stance, and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed it at least four times with Merkel, said another source familiar with the issue.

The European Union executive wants to extend its internal energy market laws to offshore gas pipelines to have a say over the new gas link under the Baltic Sea from Russian Federation to Germany.

The DPA Agency writes that the revised Gas Directive will not block the Nord stream - 2.

France had earlier made a decision to support amendments to the Gas Directive that would give the European Commission more powers over the Russian-European Nord Stream 2 pipeline, while Germany continued to oppose the move.

The draft compromise sought to tackle concerns over Ukraine saying: "We consider a (gas rules) directive in this spirit indispensable for a fruitful discussion on the future gas transit through Ukraine".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also stressed that the project would not make Berlin dependent on Russian Federation, if Germany diversifies its energy suppliers.

In earlier supporting broader European Union oversight, a French diplomatic source had told AFP on Thursday that Paris was "not for or against Nord Stream 2".

Merkel has so far insisted that the pipeline is a "purely economic project" that will ensure cheaper, more reliable gas supplies.

But a French government source had earlier told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that Paris might do it due to "strategic problems" with Russian Federation.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has always been a proponent of the pipeline, responded to the Nord Stream 2 criticism on Friday.

She has said there will be no dependence on Russian Federation if Europe diversifies at the same time.

The loss of transit fees would hit Ukraine's economy hard.

On the other side, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia strongly oppose Nord Stream 2, mostly for geopolitical reasons.

Wolfgang Büchele of the German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV) also warned against rule changes: "We find it disconcerting that an economically sensible project in which a number of European companies are financially involved, among them some from France, is now being called into question as a result of irrelevant political deliberations and sustained pressure from the United States".

"I think this is a good day and it wouldn't have happened this way without German-French cooperation", Merkel said.

The French Ministry of foreign Affairs had initially announced on Thursday, the government in Paris wool unlike Germany votes for a tightening of the rules for Pipelines from third countries.



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