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Merkel Salvages Nord Stream, But Is Putin Losing Russia’s Gas Monopoly?

The European Union took a first step with its February 8 vote towards turning Russia’s gas monopoly, Gazprom, from an instrument of Russian power politics into a regulated utility, deprived of its monopoly power. A bitter pill for Germany to swallow.

Meanwhile, Putin and Germany complained that U.S. intervention was exclusively for its own plans to sell its expensive LNG to Europe.

As the European Union (EU) permanent representatives gathered in Brussels on Friday, February 8, to vote on the EU’s Gas Initiative of the Third Energy Package, Russia’s Nord Stream 2 (NS2) undersea pipeline project was in jeopardy. Even Germany’s reliable ally France had declared its intent to vote against the German-Russian project. Without France, Germany could not block an anti-NS2 vote, and an alarmed Angela Merkel swung into diplomatic overdrive. In hasty negotiations, Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron reached a compromise agreement that allows all parties to fight again another day.