The aim of EU energy policy is to deliver affordable, secure energy supplies combined with a decarbonisation policy that makes Europe a global leader in the fight against climate change.
This makes the Energy Union one of the Commission's key political objectives, having declared 2016 as the Energy Union's "year of delivery." Nord Stream 2 reinforces all dimensions of the Energy Union.
An additional route for additional volumes ensures energy security and greater liquidity for the internal energy market. It is designed to address the EU's declining domestic gas production, which will lead to increased demand for imports. Here, we are only part of the solution; other import pipelines and sources such as liquid natural gas (LNG) will also play their part.
Without adequate gas supplies, the EU cannot pursue its three main objectives simultaneously: security, sustainability and affordability. Gas from Nord Stream 2 will help deliver efficiency gains and emissions reduction objectives.
Natural gas is an ideal partner for highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP), while carbon emissions can be halved by replacing high-emitting coal with gas for electricity generation at relatively low cost. Gas is crucial as a baseload energy provider, enabling a higher share of renewables where production patterns remain volatile.
Many European nuclear power plants are due to be decommissioned in the coming years and the costs of new nuclear project are spiralling.
Additional gas import capacity does not mean more dependence on Russia - market forces will determine where gas is sourced and this new import route will increase competition, benefitting European consumers. Nord Stream 2 will transport additional gas volumes, not substitute existing infrastructure.
Nord Stream's track record has demonstrated solid experience in building state-of the-art gas infrastructure projects and meeting high international environmental standards, based on a comprehensive dialogue with diverse stakeholder groups. Investment in Nord Stream 2 is a commercial decision by six leading energy companies, five of them based in the EU.
Given the lively political debate around Nord Stream 2, it is important to remember that there is an established legal process for the implementation of such projects. The project can only proceed with the approval of the countries under whose jurisdiction the pipeline falls. This will require meticulous scrutiny of the project and its impact.
The Nordic countries along the pipeline route are well known for high standards of environmental protection, transparency and good governance. Furthermore, there will be transboundary consultations with all coastal states of the Baltic Sea.
The process is governed by EU law, international conventions and national legislation. All legitimate concerns will be considered and addressed during this process. Nord Stream 2 will bring significant contributions to the EU's energy objectives.
We are fully committed to thorough evaluation and scrutiny in full compliance with the existing process based on the rule of law.