Controversial gas directive in place: A single "s" changed everything

The EU has reached agreement on a new gas directive which means that gas pipelines from third-party countries – for example, Nord Stream 2 – will be subject to the bloc's rules in future.
Photo: /ritzau scanpix/Stefan Sauer
Photo: /ritzau scanpix/Stefan Sauer


Shortly before midnight Tuesday CET, the EU Parliament, EU Commission and Council of Ministers reached agreement on a new gas directive.

The text of the deal is not yet publicly available, but according to EnergyWatch's sources, the final text is close to the draft which the Council of Ministers agreed Friday.

This means that the gas pipelines which come from third-party countries to the EU will henceforth fall under the EU's regulations in the area and subject to rules including price transparency, access to third-party countries and capacity size.

The controversial directive has been underway since Autumn 2017, sparked by plans for Nord Stream 2, which will freight gas between Russia and Germany.

Only one three-way discussion was necessary, although it was initially difficult to get the EU Council to agree.

According to EnergyWatch's information, only a single "s" was eliminated before an agreement was reached on the formulation.

Germany allegedly came on board with the text after specifying the EU country where the pipeline enters has the right to negotiate conditions with the third country, after it was originally held that member countries where the pipeline entered the EU had this right.

France allegedly succeeded in convincing Germany that it was attractive to change "member states" to "member state."

Now the text is awaiting final approval from the EU Parliament and the EU Council. When this is secured, an official date will be placed on when the law takes effect.

Shortly after midnight, a Danish MEP confirmed that the gas directive was adopted.

"We have a deal! Putin alone will not decide on the gas price in Europe. We do it together – through the EU. Denmark also needed the EU in this tough case," wrote Morten Helveg on Twitter.

English Edit: Lena Rutkowski

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