Macron’s Decision to Skip Munich Conference Unrelated to Nord Stream 2
French President Emmanuel Macron is unlikely to attend the upcoming Munich Security Conference, but this decision is not linked to the Nord Stream 2 project, French Ambassador to Russia Sylvie Bermann told Sputnik.
“I saw that he probably will not attend the Munich conference, but not all presidents go to this conference, and not every year. This decision was announced earlier, and it has nothing to do with the Nord Stream. In addition, he is personally very much involved, and takes an active part in the French national debate,” the diplomat said.
The conference will be held in Germany on February 15-17.
Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russian gas giant Gazprom and five European companies. It aims to deliver 55 billion cubic meters (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of Russian natural gas annually to the European Union.
The pipeline project has been welcomed by some countries in Europe and opposed by the others, who raise concerns over alleged danger of Europe’s dependence on Russia and the subsequent diminished transit role of Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly reiterated that the pipeline is a purely commercial project.
Back in November 2017, the European Commission proposed extending EU energy rules to “all gas pipelines to and from third countries up to the border of the EU’s jurisdiction.” In particular, the commission sought the right to demand a separation of gas sales and pipeline operating activities, as well as third-party access to a pipeline.
On Thursday, the French Foreign Ministry said it would support revision of the EU Gas Directive, which might threaten the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Germany, meanwhile, has been a strong proponent of the regulations.
Next day, the Council of the European Union reached a consensus on amendments to the EU Gas Directive. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in turn, noted the agreement had become possible thanks to the joint work of Berlin and Paris. The council is now set to hold negotiations with the European Parliament with the participation of the European Commission to find a compromise version of the document.