REUTERS The Council of the European Union has approved amendments to the EU Gas Directive, which will allow the European standards to be extended to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, considerably complicating the project. Voting took place during a meeting of the EU Council in Luxembourg on Monday, April 15. In total, 27 EU Member States voted in favor, while Bulgaria abstained, the Ukrainian-language service of Germany&#39;s Deutsche Welle wrote on Monday. This was the final stage of the adoption of changes to the Gas Directive, which is part of the EU Third Energy Package. They should be formally signed during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week. After that, the document will be published in the Official Journal of the EU, and enter into force on the 20th day after its publication. Following that, gas pipelines laid in the EU from third countries shall operate according to the same rules as the pipelines within the Union. This will have the greatest impact on the new "pipeline" from Russia, the publication said. Read alsoNord Stream 2 delay "trump card" in Russia-Ukraine gas talks: Reuters The amended Gas Directive will not immediately stop the construction of Nord Stream 2. After all, it is up to the private company Nord Stream 2 AG, which is owned by Russia&#39;s gas monopoly Gazprom, to decide whether to complete it or not. However, for the new gas pipeline to be commissioned, it will have to meet much more stringent requirements than, for example, Nord Stream 1, which started operating in 2011. The requirements are designed to ensure competition and protect consumer rights. There are four major requirements. The first one assumes that the same company that produces and sells natural gas cannot transport it (the so-called unbundling or "separation of assets"). Nord Stream 2 AG does not comply with this requirement. So, if Gazprom plans to launch the pipeline, it shall create a separate operator, which will be independent of the Russian monopoly. The German national regulator (the Federal Network Agency) will certify the fact of such independence. However, the European Commission will also monitor compliance with the rules. The second requirement is the third companies&#39; access to Nord Stream 2. In practice, this will most likely mean that part of its capacity will have to remain unfilled. In addition, the German national regulator will be setting competitive gas tariffs. Finally, the gas pipeline will have to work transparently, in particular, regarding security of supplies. Read alsoEuropean Commission ready to resume gas talks with Ukraine, Russia right after Ukraine elections The Gas Directive will apply to both new and existing pipelines. However, it provides for the possibility of exceptions. Existing gas pipelines, for example, Nord Stream 1, may fairly easily get an exemption from meeting the requirements. But for new "pipelines," requirements will be tough. It is for the German regulator to decide whether to make an exception for Nord Stream 2 or not. However, the European Commission will be able to cancel this decision. Another option is to conclude an intergovernmental agreement between Berlin and Moscow; however, it is impossible without the consent of Brussels. The European Commission proposed to introduce such amendments back in November 2017 but Bulgaria and Austria had long been blocking them. Only in early 2019 did Romania begin to actively promote the amendments when it took over the EU Council Presidency. After a compromise was found in February, the changes to the directive began to pass all stages of adoption at a rapid pace. The amendments have an additional meaning in the context of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia on the gas transit starting from 2019. The current contract between Kyiv and Moscow is valid until December 31. The launch of Nord Stream 2 will allow Russia to transfer part of the gas, which is now being supplied to the EU via Ukraine, through the new Russian gas pipe bypassing Ukraine.