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EU adopts French-German compromise on Russia gas pipeline

AFP  |  Brussels 

member states adopted a Franco-German compromise on Friday allowing to remain the with on the 2 to

France, a in the EU gas talks, had said earlier it would support oversight of new offshore pipelines.

This had raised concerns in that resistance from other EU members could undermine plans for the undersea pipeline between and

But and now agree that chief responsibility lies with Germany, the "territory and territorial sea of the member state where the first interconnection point is located," according to a text seen by AFP.

The pipeline is due to emerge at the German Baltic port of Greifswald, from where gas will be distributed to other EU countries.

"There was indeed an agreement which was only possible thanks to close cooperation between and Germany," German told reporters in Berlin when asked about 2.

The compromise text replaces older wording stipulating the EU rules on will be applied by "the territory of the member states" and or the "territorial sea of the member states".

The new text was adopted as part of reforms for at a meeting of EU in

"The French-German compromise was adopted pretty much unanimously," one told AFP.

Romania, current holder of the rotating EU presidency, said it "was given the mandate... to enter negotiations with the on the amendment of the EU "

France's earlier support for giving EU countries more say in the pipeline project appeared likely to shift the balance away from

2 faces opposition from many countries in eastern and central Europe, the and particularly because it risks increasing Europe's dependence on Russian

Combined with the planned across the Black Sea, Nord Stream 2 would mean could bypass in providing gas to Europe, robbing Moscow's new foe of transit fees and a major strategic asset.

An EU said US officials lobbied their European counterparts until just before the start of Friday's meeting in a bid to block the

"has put enormous pressure on EU capitals in recent days to prevent Nord Stream 2," the said on condition of anonymity.

"The fact that the was then almost passed by consensus is also due to the growing displeasure among the EU states over the attempted US influence."

Kremlin said in that was spearheading efforts to undermine fair competition.

"This international project is necessary for Russia and the EU, but it is constantly attacked by third countries, more specifically by the United States," Peskov said.

Peskov accused of "underhanded competition" by trying to encourage Europeans "to buy more expensive American gas".

Russia will "follow developments very closely", Peskov said, adding "we hope that the EU member countries will know how to settle this issue themselves".

French Emmanuel Macron's office said the compromise puts Nord Stream under "European oversight".

"It will challenge a certain number of project parameters which will have to provide transit guarantees via as well as transit through Slovakia," an said.

The draft compromise sought to tackle concerns over Ukraine saying: "We consider a (gas rules) directive in this spirit indispensable for a fruitful discussion on the future through Ukraine."

Merkel has so far insisted that the pipeline is a "purely economic project" that will ensure cheaper, more reliable

She has said there will be no dependence on Russia if diversifies at the same time.

Construction has already begun, involving companies such as Germany's and Uniper, Dutch-British Shell, France's and Austria's Gas is due to start arriving in by the end of the year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 22:31 IST