Nord Stream will go ahead: Gerhard Schroeder

Int’l Relations

The future of Russia and Europe’s energy security will be the focus of a meeting in Sochi on Tuesday. Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s will head a committee to discuss the Nord Stream project.

After the meeting with Nord Stream shareholders, Gerhard Schroeder was positive. “The project will be carried out on the target date. The European Commission, Council and Parliament support the project and each country of the EU should back their decision. This project is aimed at strengthening energy security in Europe for the welfare of all Europeans,” he said. The estimated cost of the gas pipeline being built by a Russian-German venture is about $7 billion. The pipeline will link Russia to the EU via the Baltic Sea.

Earlier this week the project ran into trouble. Estonia blocked a survey of the sea-bed in its waters, saying it was protecting its national interests in the region. “Our principal position is that the real alternative which should be researched is not on the bottom of the Baltic Sea but should be on the mainland because we all know that ecological situation of the Baltic Sea is not very good,” voiced his country’s position Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet. Construction is set to begin in 2010. When finished, every year the pipeline will carry enough gas to supply more than 20 million households.

The ambitious project is widely seen as an important factor of energy security in Europe. For Russia, it’s a new export route to go around transit countries like Belarus and Ukraine. Still, other Baltic countries, Poland and Lithuania, have also voiced their opposition to the scheme. Sweden, for its part, has given the go-ahead to transform the village of Slite on Gotland Island into a massive logistics point. But there’s still no final OK for the pipeline to go through Swedish waters. Meanwhile, Gerhardt Shroeder insisted Nord Stream is open to dialogue and ready for co-operation. Officials also say the project will go ahead anyway - whatever the twists and turns in the story and the pipeline’s route. (trendaz.com)

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