© Nord Stream 2/Axel Schmidt
Claims that the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will increase Europe’s dependence on the supplies of Russian gas have no grounds, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet, published on Monday.
"We see the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as an entirely commercial, mutually advantageous project. Allegations that it will make Europe more dependent on gas supplies from Russia are groundless. It would be more correct, in our opinion, to speak about positive interdependence, since Russia is also interested in seeing Europeans buy its products, energy resources in this case," the foreign minister noted, TASS reports.
The commissioning of the pipeline will ensure the diversification of gas transit routes without increasing the amount of it supplies at the present moment, the minister noted. "It will be possible to make sustainable gas supplies to European consumers via the shortest route, which will reduce the ‘ecological footprint’ from its transportation," the minister said.
"Besides, we are not giving up on the existing agreements on the supplies of Russian gas to Europe, at the same time the transit countries will have to compete in the future for the right of transit, instead of trying to dictate their own terms," Lavrov noted.
He also stressed that Nord Stream 2 will strengthen strategic energy security of Europe for decades to come. "That is exactly why the European capital cities interested in the project are strongly in favor of the completion of the gas pipeline construction," he noted.
The credibility undermined
The credibility of many European partners on the energy track has been seriously undermined, Lavrov said.
"By the way, our trust in many European partners in the energy sector has also been seriously undermined," Lavrov said.
The top diplomat reiterated that in May 2019, specifically because of the Nord Stream 2 project, the EU adopted amendments to the gas directive of the Third Energy Package. "They were adopted retroactively, when the main investments had already been made," he noted. "This dealt a blow to one of the fundamental principles of the market relations - the protection of the rights of a bona fide investor. Of course, this did not add our confidence in reliability of our partners," he noted.
Russia, for its part, has never given reasons to question its reliability as the supplier of hydrocarbon fuels. "Think back to the frosty February and March of 2018, that made it into history as ‘The Beast from the East'. Who mobilized additional urgent gas supplies to the freezing Europe back then?" Lavrov asked.
According to him, as a first constructive step to restore trust, the European Union could stop attempts to politicize trade-economic cooperation. "We, for our part, are always open to constructive cooperation on the principles of equality, mutual trust and regard for the interests. The ball is in the EU court," Lavrov summed up.