News / Europe

EU Puts Russia Gas Pipeline Talks on Hold

FILE - A gas pressure gauge of a main gas pipeline from Russia in the village of Boyarka near the capital Kyiv, Ukraine on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008.
FILE - A gas pressure gauge of a main gas pipeline from Russia in the village of Boyarka near the capital Kyiv, Ukraine on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008.
Reuters
Political talks between EU officials and Russia on its South Stream gas pipeline to bypass Ukraine are on hold, while Gazprom's access to another vital link has stalled for technical reasons, the European Commission said on Monday.
 
Relations between Russia and the European Union have been thrown into turmoil by Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region.
 
In Brussels, the crisis is likely to intensify efforts to reduce energy dependence on Russia, while Moscow has long sought to curb its reliance on Ukraine as the main transit route for Russian gas to Europe, its biggest market.
 
Russia has begun building South Stream to carry up to 15 percent of Europe's annual gas demand via the Black Sea by 2018.
 
But so far the pipeline has not met EU law, which does not allow energy producers and distributors to own the pipelines they use. It also requires bilateral agreements between Russia and the nations through which South Stream will pass to comply with EU legislation.
 
Oettinger told German newspaper Die Welt, discussions with Russia on the link were suspended.
 
“I won't accelerate talks about pipelines such as South Stream for the time being, they will be delayed,” Oettinger, a German national, was quoted as saying.
 
Commission spokeswoman Sabine Berger said he was referring only to political talks, and technical contact was ongoing.
 
The European Commission has made clear the South Stream pipeline faces a long wait for legal clearance.
 
Nord Stream to Germany
Russia's major alternative to the Ukraine route is the Nord Stream pipeline, which already ships Russian gas to Germany and avoids Ukraine. Gazprom says the potential to pump more is limited by EU rules on how much access it can have to the Opal link from a northern German landing point to the Czech Republic.
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in January the Commission had agreed to allow Russia 100 percent access.
 
The EU spokeswoman said the executive had agreed with the German Federal Network Agency to prolong the deadline for a decision on Opal, citing a need for “technical clarifications”.
 
“The Commission aims for rapid clarification of the remaining issues and will work on this together with the relevant authorities,” she said.
 
Opal has capacity of 36 billion cubic meters, but industry sources said it has been operating at half that for the last three years.
 
Russia and the Commission are also at odds over an inquiry into Gazprom's suspected anti-competitive behavior, including overcharging customers and blocking rivals.
 
A Commission spokesman said the Ukraine crisis would have no impact on this inquiry.
 
“It's very simple. There is no influence whatsoever. Our investigation is ongoing and continuing as planned,” Antoine Colombani told reporters on Monday.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid