Interview with Paul Vandoren
RT: What is the significance of this petition?
PV: Well, it is, of course, very important that the European Parliament looks into the petitions which have been put to the parliament by a number of citizens of countries which will be affected by the installation of this pipeline. Let me underline that for the European Commission this pipeline is a project of European interest and by saying so, of course, I underline the vital importance. But it's normal that one looks at all possible aspects and all possible impacts of a project of that kind. So, as the commission, of course, by definition takes seriously any opinion or advice/recommendation given by the parliament, it will take seriously the recommendations which this committee may come up with.
RT: But do you think the economic pressures could override the environmental issues in this case?
PV: Well, I believe that both the economic and the environmental aspects need to be given full attention. Clearly, economically speaking, this is a very important project, but it should not be introduced at any cost and, therefore, it is normal that all aspects including environmental aspects are being looked at very carefully.
RT: And do you think that the environmental aspects could actually end up scuppering the whole Nordstream pipeline?
PV: Well, let's see what eventually the recommendation of the European Parliament will be. But I do believe the decision-makers for this project will look very carefully at all possible recommendations the parliament will come up with and it is then their responsibility to decide how they go about this.
RT: And Paul, if I could just finally ask, how much do you think this is an issue about the EU's concerns about Gazprom getting further foothold in the European energy market.
PV: This is not an issue about Gazprom getting an even bigger foot on the European market. No, this is an issue, as you started by saying, about being concerned for environmental reasons with regard to a very important project. Gazprom has been and is an important supplier to the European citizen and consumer and the European market is a very important market for the very big supplier – Gazprom. Therefore, both sides have a common interest in making sure that this is being brought to a good end.