The German Ministry of Economic Affairs ruled on Tuesday that the supply of Russian gas via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline does not pose a threat to the security of gas supply to the European Union and Germany.
The approval is an important step in the process of final certification of the pipeline and its commissioning.
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With the ruling of the ministry, which had consulted the neighboring countries, Italy, Hungary and the Baltic States for its assessment, grid operator BNetzA can initiate its own certification process.
BNetzA has until early January to come up with a recommendation, which will then be sent to the European Commission.
The Commission, in turn, has two months to respond.
Construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany was completed in early September.
Russia and Gazprom will use it to transport gas to Germany.
This allows the Russians to bypass Ukraine in the gas supply to Western Europe.
Both countries are in conflict with each other.
The US is also unhappy with the gas pipeline.
According to the Americans, this will give the Russians more influence in Western Europe, because the country could threaten to cut off the gas supply.
As the name Nord Stream 2 suggests, the pipeline is not the first.
Together, the two pipelines can transport 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Western Europe.
That is half of the total supply of Russian gas to Western Europe.
The construction of Nord Stream 2 cost about 11 billion dollars (9.3 billion euros).
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