Nord Stream 2: a pipeline that divides Europe?

After long hesitation, Denmark has given its approval for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that will run under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. This means that the remaining 147-kilometre section of the pipeline can be built, with plans for it to be ready by the end of the year. Commentators voice disappointment over the decision.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Force Russia to make commitments

Now it's a question of preventing Europe's security from being jeopardised by the new gas pipeline, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

“The decisive arena for this is Brussels: here, Russia, Ukraine and the EU are negotiating future gas transit through Ukraine. ... It is important to commit Russia to gas transit through Ukraine in the long term. Russia's dependence on undisturbed transit of its gas through Ukraine to the West has so far been a safeguard against the Kremlin stepping up its hybrid war against Ukraine once more. This dependence will disappear in the foreseeable future because of Nord Stream 2. Even a long-term transit agreement cannot prevent this, especially as it's doubtful that Moscow would adhere to the terms. But it would be better than nothing.”

grani.ru (RU) /

European unity sacrificed for profit

The opposition media outlet grani.ru laments that the Europeans didn't keep up their resistance to the pipeline:

“Nord Stream 2 has highlighted the helplessness of the EU institutions. The EU Commission took a tough stance against the project. In its resolution last year, the European Parliament called a spade a spade. Poland and the Baltic states fought against the gas pipeline. Ukrainian diplomacy tried to alert partners at all levels. But in the end everything was decided by the greed of big companies and the energy ambitions of Berlin, which wants to become the biggest European energy 'hub'. The French-German compromise on the gas directive became the point of no return in February. It showed that for the EU's leading countries financial interests are more important than European unity and security.”

wPolityce.pl (PL) /

Project isn't even cost-efficient

Wpolityce.pl sees the decision as a big mistake:

“Nord Stream 2 is first and foremost a political undertaking that interferes with European energy policy and is not cost-efficient, as Russia and Germany falsely claim. The costs will amount to around ten billion euros, while the cost of modernising the Ukrainian transit network is estimated at five billion euros. Despite all doubts, Russia's investment, supported by Germany, is being pushed forward step by step and Denmark has now ended its resistance and removed the final obstacle.”

Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Denmark had no choice in the matter

Denmark had to agree to the route because Russia has planned it so that international maritime law applies, Jyllands-Posten explains:

“This was a purely administrative decision, free of political considerations and made solely on the basis of an assessment on whether the route is damaging to fishing activities and ferries. The Foreign Ministry's public relations department suggests that the matter should remain as non-political as possible, according to '[Foreign Minister] Jeppe Kofod, who makes no comment on the decision'. ... Of course there is a risk that Denmark will now be accused of serving Russian interests. Which would be slightly ironic, however, given the parliament's great political aversion to the project.”

Ria Novosti (RU) /

Ukraine transit no longer the key factor

Ria Novosti wonders why Denmark has only now given its approval:

“Apparently, the lack of progress on the construction was seen in Europe as a means of exerting pressure on Gazprom in order to secure the most favourable conditions for the new transit agreement with Ukraine - even though this agreement will be necessary in one form or another anyway; the only question mark is the transit volumes. ... But why did the approval come now? It's hard to say. Perhaps Denmark has understood that its own energy security is more important. Perhaps the relations between the current US administration and Ukraine and Europe, which have led to changes in the traditional US-EU-Ukraine and US-EU-Russia triangles, also played a role.”