Estonia, who is currently holding the EU’s rotating presidency, said that the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany would have many negative consequences for the continent’s energy security. Estonian foreign minister Sven Mikser urged the EU that it “must not allow suppliers to use energy as a tool for political pressure” and added that “before the project goes any further, we have to analyze the consequences very closely”. Mr. Mikser also stressed that “if this analysis shows that Nord Stream 2 puts Russian suppliers in a position where they can exert pressure on any country in Europe, for example, Ukraine, then we have to take this very seriously”.
Estonian leadership thinks that the European Commission should negotiate directly with Russia. The Commission has previously raised its concerns and asked for a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the EU on the legal underpinnings of the project. It is still not clear whether the EU executive will be given the mandate by the member states. Mr. Mikser, however, said that his country would try its best to “reach the necessary consensus” on the issue.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is meant to transport natural gas into the EU to enhance security of supply, support climate goals and boost the internal energy market. Germany is a strong supporter of the project, which will bring gas from Russia through the Baltic Sea, just like the already operational Nord Stream pipeline. One of the strongest supporters of the pipeline within the German government is German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel who, together with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, criticized a decision by the White House on toughening sanction against Russia.
Mr. Mikser urged the EU member states to unify their position when talking to the Kremlin by saying that “we have shown consensus when it comes to sanctions and we should continue to do so.” However, he also warned against a piecemeal dismantling of the sanctions so long as Russia “violates the fundamental principles of international law and does not respect its obligations”.