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COPENHAGEN, March 29 (Reuters) - The European Union has offered to negotiate with Russia on behalf of its member countries about the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which aims to bring Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea, Danish newspaper Politiken reported on Wednesday.
In a letter to the Danish government seen by the newspaper, the European Commission invites member countries to state their opinions about Nord Stream 2 and clarifies that the pipeline can not be operated in a "legal vacuum".
The commission will ask member countries for permission to initiate negotiations with Russia in order to reach an agreement that pivotal principles from the union's legal framework will be imposed on projects like Nord Stream 2, commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen told the newspaper.
The EU is divided between eastern European and Baltic Sea countries that see a new pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic making the EU a hostage to Moscow - and those in northern Europe, most especially the main beneficiary Germany, for whom the economic benefits take priority. (Reporting by Teis Jensen; editing by Grant McCool)