EU’s top court rules in favor of shelved Russian pipeline

The operator of Nord Stream 2 is fighting a legal battle over the EU’s gas directive

The operator of Nord Stream 2, the recently built Russian natural gas pipeline to Germany, won an appeal in the EU’s top court on Tuesday. The firm is challenging the bloc’s rules requiring separate enterprises to build, operate, and own pipelines. In February, the project was denied certification by Germany due to the EU gas directive.

The EU’s lower tribunal “was wrong to hold that Nord Stream 2 AG was not directly concerned by” the contested legislation, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled, sending the case back to the General Court.

In 2020, the Swiss subsidiary of Russian gas giant Gazprom said it could not appeal against the EU directive that demanded operators be separate from gas suppliers. At the time, the EU’s General Court rejected the company’s claims as inadmissible.

The spat dates back to 2019, when Brussels extended the existing rules on natural gas import infrastructure to cover pipelines owned and operated by third countries, targeting Nord Stream 2. When the pipeline project began, there was no such requirement.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was ready to start full-scale deliveries in December 2021, despite the sanctions imposed by the US on companies participating in the project. However, in February, prior to the conflict in Ukraine, Germany’s energy regulator refused to certify the project.

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