Russian Gazprom says it now has the go-ahead to build the controversial gas pipeline Nord Stream 2.
Anna Kaisa Itkonen, the European Commission’s spokesperson on energy, says, “We do not like Nord Stream 2 from a political aspect. However, saying that, there are no legal grounds on which the Commission can oppose it.”
A new route to Europe has long been the goal of the Russian state gas company, something that has met widespread opposition. A new pipeline will enable Russia to bypass Ukraine and Eastern Europe, increasing its control over the countries. Martin Kragh, from the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, points out that Russia wants to cut Ukraine out of the European energy equation and tie up Europe as a long-term export market.
Nonetheless, Chloé Le Coq, doctoral student at Stockholm School of Economics, says there are positive factors, for example the opportunity to diversify transport routes for gas to Europe.