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The European Union and NATO agreed on Wednesday to launch a task force to enhance the protection and resilience of energy and other critical infrastructure, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.
The EU, NATO, and western countries have increased surveillance and defense capabilities following the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea at the end of September 2022.
“One important new focus for our cooperation is the security of our critical infrastructure, where we have to step up the cooperation. We have seen the sabotage of Nord Stream that has shown that we need to be ready and that we need to confront this new type of threats,” von der Leyen said after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The new EU-NATO Task Force for Resilient Critical Infrastructure will work to identify threats and vulnerabilities, develop key principles to improve resilience, and propose mitigating measures and remedial actions, the European Commission president added.
NATO’s Stoltenberg said, “Resilience and the protection of critical infrastructure are a key part of our joint efforts, as we have seen both with President Putin’s weaponizing of energy, and as you mentioned, Ursula, the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines.”
“We want to look together at how to make our critical infrastructure, technology and supply chains more resilient to potential threats, and to take action to mitigate potential vulnerabilities,” Stoltenberg added.
Gas leaks in each of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were discovered at the end of September from the infrastructure just outside Swedish and Danish territorial waters in the Baltic Sea.
An investigation launched by the Swedish authorities concluded that the leaks were the result of detonations, likely the result of “serious sabotage”.
Nord Stream 2 was never put into operation after Germany axed the certification process following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia, for its part, shut down Nord Stream 1 indefinitely in early September, claiming an inability to repair gas turbines because of the Western sanctions.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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