EU calls for ‘stress test’ of critical energy infrastructure
The European Commission (EC) intends to work with EU countries to test the bloc’s key energy infrastructure for unexpected disruptions, EC President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday at a conference in Tallinn, Estonia.
She noted that the “acts of sabotage against the Russian Nord Stream pipelines have shown how vulnerable the critical infrastructure” of the EU is.
“We need to protect our critical infrastructure. We need to stress test our infrastructure, identify weaknesses and prepare our response in case of unexpected outages,” von der Leyen said. “We will work with member countries to conduct these stress tests in the energy sector, as well as in others high-risk areas, for example ... electricity infrastructure.”
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines abruptly lost pressure last month, following a series of powerful underwater explosions off the Danish island of Bornholm. The incident caused massive gas leaks, with large volumes entering the sea. The ruptures are widely considered to be the result of sabotage, carried out by an unknown party.
The routes were designed to carry Russian natural gas directly to Germany, bypassing transit states, including Ukraine and Poland.
Moscow has called the incident a terrorist attack and said the US, a long-time critic of Germany’s reliance on Russian energy, stood to benefit most from the disabling of the routes, both politically and economically. Washington has denied any involvement. However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the incident as a “tremendous opportunity” for Europe “to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy.”
Neither pipeline was operational at the time of the breach. Berlin refused to certify the newer Nord Stream 2 after its completion last year, and Russia halted supplies via the older Nord Stream 1 in late August, citing sanctions-related maintenance problems.
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