Germany, France 'in constant contact' on Nord Stream project - Berlin

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For France, which relies more on nuclear energy than natural gas, the Nord Stream 2 project is not as critical as it is for Germany.

"There was indeed an agreement which was only possible thanks to close cooperation between France and Germany", German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin when asked about Nord Stream 2.

Germany will not become dependent on Russian Federation for gas due to Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, stressing that it was crucial to ensure Ukraine remained a transit country for gas.

"The Americans don't want Nord Stream 2 to happen", an adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be publicly identified, stressing that it was not American pressure that shaped the French position.

Nord Stream 2 has divided the European Union, with German opposition to the new draft rules stalling discussions since it was proposed by the European Union executive in November 2017.

According to SZ, Germany, which is against the new regulation, has resisted attempts to change the EU rules to let the European Commission gain leverage over Nord Stream 2.

EU governments are due on Friday to decide whether to advance the draft European energy legislation.

The newer draft, seen by Reuters, suggests Berlin is looking to take the lead on authorising the pipeline, which will run from Russian Federation directly to Germany.

In an effort to address concerns, Merkel has insisted that gas volumes must continue via Ukraine - the traditional route for supplies that make up over a third of the EU's gas needs.

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On the other side, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia strongly oppose Nord Stream 2, mostly for geopolitical reasons.

Other western countries will be linked to Nord Stream 2 via Germany.

"Do we become dependent on Russian Federation because of this second gas pipeline?"

What are the worries with Nord Stream 2?

German officials were keen Friday to downplay suggestions of a Franco-German rift, arguing that Paris and Berlin have a strong relationship that allows them to resolve differences.

Poland is concerned that when Russian gas no longer has to be exported via the Ukraine, the country's security could be weakened without guaranteed protection against further Russian aggression.

If the proposed regulation musters enough support, negotiations on final draft rules could begin as early as next week. Norbert Röttgen, a member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) and head of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, told the German newspaper Tagesspiegel that Germany has "isolated" itself on the issue.

German businesses are very involved in the pipeline, having invested heavily in the project, which is run by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.