The leaders of the Visegrad Group, which comprises Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, reiterated their objections against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project during their summit that ended last Friday (18 December). The arguments against the pipeline found favor in the eyes of Council President, Donald Tusk, who also said that the project undermines the EU’s plan to build an Energy Union and is generally against the strategic interests of the block. The joint statement of the Visegrad leaders did not come by surprise as it largely followed the joint letter by energy ministers to Commission Vice President, Maros Sefcovic.
Czech Prime Minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, commented that there were no differences among Visegrad states and there were all ready to act together although Prague had not signed the letter of the seven ministers addressed to Mr Sefcovic. Mr Sobotka added that the V4 group perceived the project as controversial. “We think it goes against the strategic interests of many countries in the EU and it economically harms Ukraine. We have – and I think we will have also in the future – a common position on this and we would like to see the European Commission to assess whether the project complies with European rules,” he said.
Nord Stream is an offshore natural gas pipeline from Vyborg in the Russian Federation to Greifswald in Germany and the project was also agreed upon by the governments of both countries. According to Donald Tusk, Angela Merkel commented on the outcomes of the Visegrad Summit emphasizing that it was up to Commission to assess the whole issue. Donald Tusk added that the discussion on Nord Stream 2 was “very tough” and “very emotional”. He said that the project would eventually lead to a lower volume of oil to be transported through Ukraine, which would incur estimated cost of $2 billion a year in transit taxes.