The first pipes for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline being delivered by rail to Germany.
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Russia has the European Union in a bind. The bloc is divided between eastern European and Baltic Sea countries that see a new pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic making the EU a hostage to Moscow – and those in northern Europe, most especially the main beneficiary Germany, for whom the economic benefits take priority.The result, EU sources say, is that the EU executive, the Commission, sensing that there may ultimately be no legal basis to block approval of Nord Stream 2, is delaying it as long as possible, hoping to get past 2019 – the date when Russia must renegotiate a gas transit deal with Ukraine.EU sources say the Commission is in fact cultivating uncertainty by hinting that the pipeline may fall foul of EU rules, in the hope of scaring off Western investors, for a time at least.Russia already accounts for one-third of EU gas imports, and that could rise with the help of Nord Stream 2, as Gazprom fights for market share with the EU's domestic supplies decreasing."Money talks," one EU diplomat said.
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