STRASBOURG – The European Union does not need the Russian-backed Nord Stream-2 pipeline, Rebecca Harms, chairperson of the Greens in the European Parliament (EP), told New Europe in an interview on September 8.
“I think it’s not necessary,” Harms said, asked about the Nord Stream-2 pipeline project. “We should not always postpone investing in the true made-for-the-future technologies. We should do it now because if we now invest in new gas infrastructure this will be with us for decades. It’s not possible to do a renewable-oriented strategy in the same time strengthening the gas pillar of our supply,” the German MEP added.
Russian gas monopoly Gazprom and Germany’s BASF said last week they had agreed to revive a deal that collapsed in late 2014 under which Gazprom would get greater access to gas trading and storage in Germany. Gazprom and its European partners, including BASF, also signed a shareholders’ agreement on Nord Stream-2 under which the capacity of the planned pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea to Europe will double.
The Greens chairperson said “to increase the energy dependence from Europe towards Russia I find it a very crazy idea,” especially after the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s role in Eastern Ukraine. Russia has pushed for the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline in the south and Nord Stream-2 in the north in order to completely bypass Ukraine by 2019.
Harms also noted that the current low oil prices should not be an excuse to boost fossil fuel consumption. “I would recommend to no country, which has to import oil, to rely on a situation with very low oil prices. They are volatile and we saw again and again that countries rich with energy resources they use these resources for power play,” Harms said.
She suggested alternatives such as energy efficiency, energy savings and renewable energy. “Technologies made for the future if apply them more and more, they will not only protect the climate or create much more jobs that we created around the traditional energy mix we used, they will also guarantee much more independent Europe, independent from volatile oil prices and independent from the likes of [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin,” Harms said.
On September 9, at his State of the Union speech, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told the plenary the EU has adopted a number of important additions to complete the single market in particular on energy. The Energy Union is spearheaded by European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.
According to the text of his speech, which was not read in full, Juncker said the bloc’s forward-looking climate policy is also delivering on the EU’s much-needed Energy Union goals. It is making the EU a world leader in the renewable energy sector, which today employs over one million people across the EU and generates €130 billion turnover, including €35 billion worth of exports.
“European companies today hold 40% of all patents for renewable technologies and the pace of technological change increases the potential for new global trade in green technology. This is why a strategic focus on innovation and on interconnecting our markets is being given in the implementation of the Energy Union,” he said.
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