Barroso: 'Europe needs Nord Stream'

  • 2007-12-21
  • In cooperation with BNS
TALLINN -- The controversial Nord Stream project forpumping Russian natural gas to Germany via an underwaterpipeline in the Baltic Sea serves the interest of theEuropean Union and the bloc has to support it, the presidentof the EU's executive Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, told an audience in Tallinn on Dec. 20.

Barroso was in town to celebrate the enlargement of the Schengen border-free zone, but responded to press questions when asked about Nord Stream, which the Estonian government opposes. Nord Stream is a project that supportsthe EU's energy supply needs, Barroso said.

The Commission naturally intends to watch that allenvironmental requirements are observed in the constructionof the pipeline, he added.

It is also important to the EU executive to reach political consensus on the pipeline with all EU memberstates, especially countries like Estonia that are involvedin it, he said.

Barroso stressed that the Commission simultaneously wants to diversify the EU's energy sources so that suppliescome from different countries and by as many alternative routes aspossible. In his words, it is also essential to increase theuse of non-fossil fuels.

The Estonian government ruled in September not to giveNord Stream permission to conduct seabed surveys for theunderwater gas pipeline in the Estonian economic zone,citing the country's sovereignty and national interests inthe economic zone.

Estonia has repeatedly pointed at environmental hazardsthe laying of the pipeline in the Baltic Sea may involve. InEstonia's view, it would be more sensible to build aland-based pipeline. Finland and Sweden have also expressed concerns about the possible environmental impact of Nord Stream.