EU Says Russia's Nord Stream 2 Pipeline on Hold for Compliance Review

KYIV (Reuters) — European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said on Monday the Russia-designed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has been put on hold and the Commission is looking into the project's compliance with Europe's energy policy.

Europe's most divisive energy project, Nord Stream 2 is designed by Russian energy giant Gazprom to double the amount of gas flowing from Russia straight to Germany, bypassing traditional transit nation Ukraine.

Russia's commodity exports have been under scrutiny against the backdrop of the Russian buildup of troops near Ukraine as Moscow seeks to stop NATO expansion. Russia rebuffs accusations it plans to attack Ukraine, saying it can move troops on its territory as it sees fit.

"Clearly there is certain action from Russian side that triggered the European Commission's investigation whether Gazprom is in this situation acting in line with market principles.... Unfortunately, this problem of weaponization of gas flows is not new," Dombrovskis said.

He also said the European Union will do everything so Russia would not have a possibility to use natural gas as a weapon.

Nord Stream 2, which runs on the bed of the Baltic Sea from Russian to Germany, was completed in September but is awaiting clearance from regulators in Germany and the EU.

Germany's Federal Network Agency — which regulates the country's electricity, gas, telecommunications, post and railway sectors — in November suspended a process to certify the pipeline, saying the operator should register a legal entity in Germany.

Dombrovskis also said the European Commission plans to approve a 1.2 billion euro ($1.4 billion) aid package to Ukraine on Tuesday. 

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