WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Four Central European nations are united in opposing a pipeline that would deliver natural gas directly from Russia to Germany because it would harm Europe's ability to create an efficient energy system, Poland's president said Saturday.
President Andrzej Duda described the Nord Stream 2 project, which would bypass traditional transit pipelines in Ukraine and Slovakia, as having "no economic justification," describing it as a political project implemented by Gazprom on behalf of Russia.
All four presidents agreed that an efficient energy union means one that will ensure competitive energy supplies in Europe, combined with a "real diversification of sources of gas supplies," Duda said, according to a report from the Polish news agency PAP.
Duda spoke in Rzeszow, southern Poland, on the last day of a two-day meeting with the presidents of Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Known as the Visegrad Four, these nations, with a common history of shaking off communism and joining European Union and NATO, meet regularly to forge common positions where they can.
In the last year, they have opposed an EU plan to impose obligatory migrant quotas on member states.
Duda said the four also oppose efforts by some EU states to create greater union, favoring the idea of a union made up of strong nation states.
"We all want a Europe of homelands, but at the same time we absolutely cannot imagine our homelands without Europe," Duda said. "We want to speak with one voice about issues that are common and most important to us."
He also reiterated the group's opposition to migrant quotas, and said its preference for "flexible solidarity" — each nation offering what it can to help the migrant crisis — is beginning to gain support elsewhere in the EU.