Nordstream 2 is the controversial pipeline to ensure the gas transit from Russia to Germany and to Western Europe. Gazprom announced on Friday,, September 10, that Nordstream 2 is fully completed.
What are the implications of Nordstream gas pipeline for the European states?
First off, let’s look at the symbolism of this data. September 10 is just one day before 9/11, the day when in 2001 the terrorist attacks from New York shocked an entire nation. It is the very day of the biggest failure of the United States establishment and one day before the observance of that tragedy, Russia chose to announce the completion of the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline project. Coincidence? Rather not.
In fact, the United States strongly opposed the project and even imposed sanctions against Gasprom, but they were, later on, dropped, under the Biden administration. Anyway, the completion of the project brings along a series of implications for the European states.
Russia consolidates its geostrategic presence in Europe and it prepares to dominate it once again. This time economically, as the Western states will be dependent on Russian gas. Meanwhile, the American LNG – Liquefied Natural Gas will not be delivered in higher quantities as the Americans and Europeans hoped for. This was confirmed by an American senior adviser.
Amos Hochstein – Senior Advisor for Energy Security is responsible for implementing the Nordstream 2 agreement from the American part. He recently warned the European states that the US is not able to increase the LNG to Europe this winter.
Also, Russia will be able to avoid paying gas transit taxes to Ukraine. An this translates to billions.
Ukraine loses not only the gas transit taxes. According to sources, Ukraine’s transit revenue amounted to at least $2.06bn last year and is set at $1.27bn/yr in 2021-24, based on long-term bookings and the current cost of network fees. Ukraine loses something more: the attention of the European Union.
With Germany dependent on Russian gas, with the other European countries paying attention more to the need for gas of their population rather than to the need of the Ukrainian economy for the transit taxes, Ukraine will be clearly left out of the equation.
The United States is trying to impose a certain minimum transit tax for Ukraine, such as in the situation when Russia could be determined not to drop on the Ukrainian pipeline delivery completely, but it’s hard to predict Russia’s actions in the future.
Western leaders are certainly satisfied with Nordstream 1 and 2 delivering Russian gases during the cold winters to come. Let’s not forget that the president of the Shareholders’ Committee at Gazprom is the former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Coincidence? Rather not.
The Eastern countries, among which Poland, Romania, and the Baltic countries, opposed the Nordstream project altogether. Romania even tried to impose a set of rules while it ensured the presidency of the European Union, but it couldn’t do it. The rules were about the legislation of the project, as it was exempted from the European legislation.
Today, on the very day of the completion of the project, as announced by Gazprom, a diplomatic move sent a message of protest from Poland to Germany: the meeting between the Polish president Andrzej Duda and Angela Merkel was canceled, at the Polish initiative.
What now, Europe?
Europe enters a new era of geostrategic and economic relations. It is clear for everybody, from the highest officials in Bruxelles and Washington to the average citizen in Berlin’s apartments that Russia reached its long-time goal: to make the most powerful countries in the European Union addicted to its gas.
Maybe not in the very near future, but we will definitely witness Russia consolidating its power in Europe, influencing decisions, and behaving as it did decades ago.
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