Comments made by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday indicate that the United States believed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would have connected Europe to Russia was a “bad deal” for European Countries, a new report by Reuters says.
Gazprom, one of Russia’s major state-run energy companies, originally agreed to build the pipeline in partnership with several European firms last year, but Gazprom just can’t seem to catch a break.
Earlier this month, news broke that Gazprom’s partners, which included Dutch Shell, OMV, French Engie, and German Uniper and Wintershall had pulled out of the joint venture due to pressure from Poland’s anti-monopoly watchdog.
The regulator said the consortium would increase Gazprom’s already substantial influence over the Central European energy market and create an environment that could encourage unfair competition.
Russian sources have attributed the partners’ withdrawal to the company’s worries regarding its existing business contracts in Poland.
And that’s not the first pushback the project has received. Since talks about the project began, several eastern and central European countries have criticized it, citing concerns over the line’s potential to limit supply routes and endanger the continent’s energy security.
In March, nine central and eastern Europe (CEE) European Union member states submitted a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker objecting to the construction of the line from the Baltic Sea to Germany.
The letter, signed by the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Lithuania, and Croatia, noted that development of the pipeline would perpetuate a dependence on Russian energy already acute amongst the CEE states.
Many CEE states were formerly under control of the Soviet Union. Since the dissolution of the USSR, Russia has maintained tight control of the newly independent countries’ energy supply via infrastructural developments – or a lack thereof.
This continued dependence would go against the European Energy Union’s goal of diversity of energy suppliers to alleviate national security concerns.