A new ruling at the European Court on 10 September curbs Gazprom’s Nord Stream pipeline access, connecting Russia to Germany. It’s an interesting ruling, considering it annuls a European Commission (EC) decision back in 2016, which states that the EC had not assessed the impact on Poland’s gas-supply security, and therefore breached the EU’s “energy solidarity principle”.
No one in Ukraine will be upset by the decision either, as the decision reduces the chance of a gas crisis here on home soil. It may even offer leverage in future talks with Russia, which Ukraine, still under attack from its eastern neighbour, badly needs.
Emboldened by the ruling, Naftogaz’s executive director, Yuriy Vitrenko, appeared on social media, saying, “I hope all this is a sign of gradual change in Europe’s attitude to Gazprom and Russia’s use of gas as an instrument of political influence.” And actually, we couldn’t agree more.
For reference, Russian gas is vital to a number of European countries, with 14 receiving more than 50% of their needs through Soviet-era pipelines. However, as this ruling reduces Gazprom’s Nord Stream flows by 12.4 billion cubic meters a year, it’s unlikely the bear will take it lying down.