Germany on Thursday lost its fight against a ruling limiting Gazprom's access to the OPAL pipeline that links the Russian gas producer's Nord Stream pipeline to the country after Europe's top court sided with Poland.
The case is part of a long-running dispute over the transportation of Russian gas to Europe, which has pitted Poland and other eastern European countries against Germany.
Opal links the Nord Stream 1 pipeline with onshore European grids. The 470-km (292 miles) pipeline runs from northern Germany to the Czech Republic and has an annual capacity of 36 billion cubic metres of natural gas.
Russian plans to double its gas export capacity to Germany via its Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which will use an onshore link of its own, called Eugal.
Germany appealed to the Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (CJEU) after a lower tribunal in 2019 annulled an EU decision allowing Gazprom to boost deliveries to Europe via the OPAL pipeline. The tribunal ruling followed a Polish challenge to the European Commission's decision.
The CJEU rejected Germany's arguments that "energy solidarity" is a political concept rather than a legal issue, saying that the Commission is required to examine the possible risks for security of gas supply on the markets of the EU countries.
"The legality of any act of the EU institutions falling within the European Union's energy policy must be assessed in the light of the principle of energy solidarity," judges said.
The case is C-848/19 P Germany v Poland. --Reuters