Germany insisted on Tuesday that certifying Europe's most controversial energy project, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, will not threaten the security of EU gas supplies.
Thepipeline from Russia, which is already completed, has to be approved by German regulators before going to the EU level for final approval.
"In its analysis the Federal Economy Ministry concludes that granting certification is not threatening security of gas supply to the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Union," the ministry said in a statement.
Why is the pipeline controversial?
The statement added that the analysis was submitted to the German Federal Network Agency after other EU countries such as Italy, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were given the opportunity to consult.
There have been wider concerns about relying on Russia to provide gas to the EU.
Earlier in October, Polish gas giant PGNiG said in a statement that the current situation on the EU gas market "proves the risks for security of supplies created by the Nord Stream 2 project."
The most vocal opponents of the pipeline have been the United States and Ukraine, which say Russian President Vladimir Putin could use supplying gas as a tool to achieve unrelated political goals and circumvent Ukraine as a gas transit route.
However, despite opposing the pipeline in principle, the Biden administration dropped efforts to block itwith sanctions in July, striking a deal with Germany that includes support for Ukraine and the threat of sanctions if Russia is deemed to "weaponize" fuel deliveries.
As Europe faces an energy crunch,enabling more gas imports has taken on an increasing sense of urgency. Gas prices in Europe are five times higher than they were at the beginning of the year.
The Kremlin, while lobbying heavily for a swift rubber-stamp, has denied that Russia is withholding supplies in order to exert pressure for quick regulatory approval of Nord Stream 2.
es/wmr (AFP, Reuters)
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that neighboring EU countries did not voice objections to the certification process. In fact, several EU countries have in the past expressed their opposition to the pipeline.