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US diplomats pressure Germany’s partners over Russian gas pipeline

Berlin - The US ambassadors in Germany, Denmark and the EU have called on Germany's EU partners to support legislative proposals that would regulate the German-Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2.

More Russian Power

"Nord Stream 2 would further increase Europe's vulnerability to Russian blackmail in the energy sector," Richard Grenell in Berlin and his counterparts Carla Sands and Gordon Sondland wrote in a guest article in German for Deutsche Welle.

The fact that the EU depends on Russian gas carries risks for Europe and the West as a whole, they wrote.

"Nord Stream 2 will deliver more than just Russian gas. Russia's power and influence will spread through the Baltic Sea to Europe," the article said.

The pipeline will allow Moscow to further undermine Ukraine's sovereignty and stability, it added. In addition, Europe's billions could finance fake news factories targeting democratic institutions in Europe and the United States, the ambassadors wrote.

EU to vote on Friday

In the EU, a revision of the so-called Gas Directive will be voted on this Friday.

It would allow the European Commission to regulate at least parts of the long-distance gas pipeline already under construction.

Nord Stream 2 would then have to meet new conditions that could reduce profits and possibly make the project uneconomic.

For example, it is envisaged that a gas supplier may not simultaneously be the operator of a pipeline.

The success of the regulatory plans was previously considered unlikely, but according to information from German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, France could now side with its supporters, thereby decisively changing the prospects for its success.

The 1,200-kilometre-long pipeline is supposed to go into operation by the end of 2019 and transport up to 55 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas to Germany each year.

By the end of 2018, 370 kilometres of pipes had already been laid.