ESJ Insight: On the Future of European Energy Security with Václav Bartuška

  • European Security Journal
  • 13.4.2021 13:10

ESJ Insight brings you an insider’s perspective on current security issues. Join us to discover more about the threats and challenges facing Europe today and tomorrow.

Are you curious how Nord Stream 2 and European Green Deal are related? Do you want to know if Europe will ever achieve energy autonomy or what are the main obstacles on the way to an Energy Union? Want to hear about the relation between energy and national security? Join us for a lively discussion about Russia, Europe, renewables and energy security with Ambassador Václav Bartuška!

Václav Bartuška is an Ambassador-at-Large for Energy Security of the Czech Republic since 2006, as well as visiting professor at the College of Europe. He works on a wide range of issues from oil and gas supply to energy strategy. During the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine in January 2009, when the Czech Republic held the EU Presidency, he was involved in negotiations with Russian, Ukrainian, and EU leadership. In 2010, he was appointed by the Czech Government to the position of Commissioner for expansion of the Temelin nuclear power plant. 

Ambassador-at-Large Václav Bartuška about the change of the German Government attitude towards Nord Stream 2:

“The main change already happened in Germany in August and September last year, and that was the Navalny affair. But it was only the last straw which broke the camel’s back. There have already been plenty of instances when Germany felt nervous about what Russia has been doing. It was a murder of a Chechen politician in Berlin in 2019, there was a big hacking attack on Bundestag, the German Parliament... So the attempt to murder Navalny and then actually to blame Germany for poisoning him has been the final straw.

Nord Stream 2 has become a political issue in Germany which hadn’t been until then. Nord Stream 2 was, I would say, above politics in Germany. Only one political party – the Greens – were against it. Everybody else was either for it or silent about it. It was a political consensus across Germany since 2015 that this is the project to be done. This has changed since September of last year.

I still think that Nord Stream 2 will be finished. The big question is whether it will be authorised, whether it will get the final building authorisation and then authorisation to be used as a pipeline. And that is actually the area where the German Government has a free hand because its authority for regulation of the networks can decide on what conditions Nord Stream 2 can be operated. This could make or break the economic viability of the project.

So I would assume that Germany will be going very thoroughly, someone would even say slowly, through the permitting procedure. It will probably apply a lot of pressure on Russia behind the scenes. They will not talk about it, but they will do it.”

Recorded on 2nd March.

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