The European Commission (EC) has sought a mandate from member states of the European Union (EU) to begin negotiations with Russia regarding the key operational principles of the €8bn Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

It is looking to ensure that Nord Stream 2, if built, operates in an accountable and non-discriminatory manner with a suitable degree of regulatory oversight, aligning with key principles of international and EU energy law.

The Nord Stream 2 project is planned to be developed to deliver natural gas from Russia to the EU market.

Energy Union Maroš Šefcovic vice president Maroš Šefcovic said: "Creating a well-diversified and competitive gas market is a priority of the EU's energy security and Energy Union strategy.

“As we have stated already several times, Nord Stream 2 does not contribute to the Energy Union's objectives. If the pipeline is nevertheless built, the least we have to do is to make sure that it will be operated in a transparent manner and in line with the main EU energy market rules."

The EC stated that it doesn’t consider the Nord Stream 2 project to contribute to the Energy Union objectives of providing access to new supply sources, routes or suppliers. It has expressed concern that the pipeline project could allow a lone supplier to consolidate its position further on the EU gas market while resulting in further concentration of supply routes.

In addition, the EC stated that there is adequate gas transportation infrastructure to ensure Europe’s energy supply. Going ahead with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, it said would put to danger the existing transport routes, in particular the ones passing through Ukraine.