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The Daily Vertical: The Rule-Of-Law Gap (Transcript)


The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

The fact that the European Union wants to enact and enforce its own laws on its own territory shouldn't really strike one as controversial.

But nevertheless, Russia's prime minister is apparently taking issue with such a proposition.

In remarks last week, Dmitry Medvedev claimed that attempts by Brussels to regulate the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline are aimed at complicating its implementation and forcing Moscow to abandon it.

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Medvedev's comments came in response to legislation proposed by the European Commission that would require all major gas pipelines entering EU territory to comply with the bloc's rules on transparency, accessibility, and efficiency.

This includes things like requiring nondiscriminatory tariffs and transparent reporting.

It also includes antimonopoly measures such as requiring pipelines to offer at least 10 percent of the capacity to third parties, and so-called ownership unbundling, which prohibits pipelines from being directly owned by gas suppliers.

Speaking about the regulations, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said they were necessary to provide "much-needed clarity and legal certainty" and that Nord Stream 2 "should not be built in a legal void."

Which sounds kind of, you know, reasonable.

But the fact that the Russian prime minister is actually making an issue of the fact that the EU wants pipelines on EU territory to comply with EU rules speaks volumes about what Russian energy companies have been able to get away with in the past.

And at a deeper level, the fact that Moscow objects to being subject to the same rules as everybody else in the European energy market also says a quite a bit about the gap that exists between Russia and the West on the primacy of the rule of law.

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