Attempts to make European consumers buy American liquefied natural gas (LNG) run counter to the principles of market economy and democracy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Germany’s Rheinische Post newspaper.
"We believe that it is wrong to take advantage of energy cooperation to settle political scores and consider attempts to make European consumers buy more expensive American LNG as a non-market and undemocratic tool," TASS quoted Lavrov as saying.
"We expect that when partners in Germany and other European countries will make decisions on gas and other issues, they will focus on the interests of their people rather than on instructions from overseas," the Russian top diplomat added.
When speaking about Denmark’s position on the Nord Stream 2 project, Lavrov pointed out that Copenhagen had politicized the matter and was delaying the issuance of a permission for the construction of the gas pipeline in the country’s exclusive economic zone.
"We believe that the delay in considering the project operator’s applications runs counter to international maritime law that makes it possible to construct energy infrastructure facilities in maritime areas. A thing to remember is that no country, including Denmark, had any complaints concerning the Nord Stream pipeline, along which Nord Stream 2 was initially planned to be constructed," Lavrov noted.
"Leading European energy companies that can hardly be suspected of having any anti-European plans, support this project," he went on to say. "We hope that the new Danish government, formed after the parliamentary election, will abandon the policy of confrontation and make the right decisions," the Russian top diplomat said.
According to Lavrov, the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is going according to plan: the gas pipeline is 60% complete and over 80% of funds for the construction have been secured.
"The project’s benefits are obvious. More than 57,000 jobs have been created in EU countries. It will be the shortest route for the delivery of gas from gas fields in northern Russia to European countries. I would like to point out that Nord Stream 2 is a purely commercial project aimed at ensuring Europe’s energy security and reducing gas prices for European consumers," the Russian top diplomat stressed.
Lavrov emphasized that Moscow was surprised at ongoing attempts to hinder the project. "This is the way we see the amendments to the EU Gas Directive that took effect on May 23, which actually violate the fundamental principle of legal protection for investors from changes in host countries’ laws.
Since the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union rushed to adopt these amendments, we have no doubt that they were aimed only at preventing the project’s completion," Lavrov said.
Nord Stream 2 project
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is scheduled to be put into operation in late 2019. Each of the pipeline’s two stretches will have a capacity of 27.5 bln cubic meters. The pipeline, set to run from the Russian coast along the Baltic Sea bed to the German shore, is expected to connect the Russian resource base with European customers. The total project cost of the Nord Stream 2 is estimated at 9.5 bln euro.
The gas pipeline won’t cross transit countries such as Ukraine, Belarus and Poland, running through the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. Denmark remains the only country yet to approve the construction of Nord Stream 2.