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POLAND: Post-Reshuffle Energy Policy & Nord Stream II
Opposition to Nord Stream II, a pipeline that would deliver Russian gas to Germany, is one of the priorities for the Polish government in terms of pursuing energy independence. If complete, the pipeline would strengthen Moscow’s geopolitical position at Poland’s cost. This week, Germany green-lighted the construction of NS2 in its territorial waters. The issue divides the EU, with Poland and many other states in the region arguing that the project is political and it would split the bloc economically. The German government remains unfazed and keeps arguing that the pipeline is a business venture.
By the end of March, the EU will have to issue its position on Nord Stream II. The pipeline could be operational as early as the end of 2019 – any EU law that could mitigate its negative effects would have to come before it is functional. Up until recently, many were hoping that the US would expand its sanctions to include NS2. This did not happen and Brussels will become the last stand against the pipeline’s construction. While the European Commission supports Poland’s position on this matter, it is unlikely that it will be able to completely block the project. Still, the EC will offer substantial support to Poland on other projects, such as the Baltic Pipe, as a result. If Warsaw plays this right, it might gain more than was thought possible on this issue.