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Germany lost to Poland the dispute over the exclusion of Nord Stream from the EU's third energy package

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The OPAL gas pipeline, which is an onshore extension of the Russian Nord Stream, was put into operation in the summer of 2011. There are no sources alternative to Nord Stream, from where gas could get into this pipe. Its transit capacity is now limited to half the bandwidth.

Germany lost to Poland the dispute over the exclusion of Nord Stream from the EU's third energy package

Germany on Thursday lost in the European Supreme Court a decision restricting Gazprom's access to the OPAL pipeline, which connects the Russian gas producer's Nord Stream gas pipeline with that country.

“Based on the principle of energy solidarity, the court considers the decision of the European Court of Justice of September 2019 on the claim of Poland to be justified, according to which it was decided to limit the OPAL's capacity by 50%,” the court's decision reads.

Recall that on November 20, 2019, the German gas regulator Bundesnetzagentur filed an appeal against the decision of the EU Supreme Court, which limited Gazprom's access to the OPAL gas pipeline capacity. On September 10, at the request of Poland, the EU Supreme Court annulled the decision of the European Commission (EC) to grant the onshore continuation of Nord Stream an exception to the rules of the Third Energy Package, which allowed Gazprom not to reserve half of the pipeline's capacity for third-party gas suppliers.

This case is part of a long-standing dispute over the transportation of Russian gas to Europe, in which Poland and other Eastern European countries clashed with Germany, the main beneficiary of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Germany has filed an appeal with the Luxembourg-based EU Court (CJEU) after a lower court in 2019 overturned an EU decision allowing Gazprom to increase supplies to Europe via the OPAL pipeline. The tribunal's decision was taken after the Poles challenged the European Commission's decision.

The CJEU rejected Germany's arguments that “energy solidarity” is a political concept, not a legal issue.

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