Friday, March 31

Germany will not authorize Nord Strean II gas pipeline if there is escalation in Ukraine

Correspondent in Berlin



The German Foreign Minister, who is attending her first meeting with her European counterparts today, arrives with a measure of pressure on Russia under her arm. The topic of the day is undoubtedly the deployment of 100,000 Russian soldiers to the border of Ukraine Already newly appointed minister, from the Green Party, announced before the meeting that Germany will not authorize the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, already completed and awaiting its license, in the event of escalation steps in the conflict. Germany has previously reached an agreement in principle with the United States on this matter.

Due to the tense security situation in the area, “the previous German government agreed with the Americans” that in the event of a new escalation, the gas pipeline would not start up, the minister explained in an interview with the German public television channel ZDF. , in which he hinted that the new government, a tripartite coalition made up of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals, will maintain that commitment.

The Foreign Minister, who participated over the weekend in a G7 meeting dedicated to tensions with Russia, thus explicitly joins the threats that she had only veiled so far on the North Stream II German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The gas pipeline, strongly supported in recent years by the Russian president Vladimir Putin and by Angela MerkelIn order to ensure the supply of gas to Europe, it has been highly criticized by countries such as Ukraine, which until now served as a gas transit country and benefited economically from it. The United States and several Eastern European countries, starting with Poland, are however concerned that Europe is overly dependent on Putin’s Russia. After his first official trip to Paris and Brussels, the new canciller Scholz went yesterday to Poland, to express to the neighboring government his support in the face of the “hybrid war” waged by Belarus and his “dismay” over the movements of Russian troops against Ukraine, the Polish Prime Minister, the conservative Tadeusz Morawiecki, described the visit as the “beginning of a new chapter” in bilateral relations, marred up to now by the dissent around the Nord Stream II project and by the dispute with Brussels on human rights and reform of the Polish Justice.

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Sensitivities of the German tripartite

Minister Baerbock has also visited Poland in her first days in office and has left evidence of the nuances that separate her position from Scholz’s. She, as the leader of Los Verdes, has previously rejected the project and has no qualms about maintaining more explicit positions, while Scholz, despite her criticism, formally defends it. Germany will hold the rotating presidency of the G7 next year and the clarification of its position therefore plays a significant role.

For this period, Baerbock has adopted the FC Liverpool football slogan “You’ll never walk alone”, as a gesture towards the city in which, for her, that experience begins and as a desire for cohesion that she expects from seven o’clock great powers in the face of joint challenges. The fact is that within the German tripartite there are already different sensitivities, starting with the gas pipeline. The leader of the socaildemocratic parliamentary group, Rolf Mützenich, believes that “we must do everything possible to reduce the danger of wars and therefore break the spiral of threats and counter threats.” In statements published this morning by the Rheinische Post in Düsseldorf, he hinted at his desire for Biden and Putin to reach an agreement on Ukraine, without Germany having to take concrete steps of pressure. But Baerbock insists on the willingness of Berlin to take that step: “as things are right now, the Nord Stream II cannot be approved”, were his words.

The parties of the so-called “semaphore coalition”, SPD, FDP and the Greens, had agreed in the government formation agreement that the European energy law would apply to energy projects, “and that means that, as things stand This gas pipeline cannot be approved because it does not meet European energy requirements ”, justifies Baerbock with the technicality. Anyway, “the issues of law and security are still in their administrative process,” he added.

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Nord Stream II, a project of the Russian company Gazprom in which the French company Engie, the German companies Uniper and Wintershall, the Austrian OMW and the Anglo-Dutch Shell also participate, covers 1,230 kilometers through the Baltic Sea and is ready to transport gas from Russia to northern Germany with a capacity of 55,000 million cubic meters of gas per year, which will double the capacity to pump Russian gas to Europe. The project has required an investment of 10 billion euros and crosses the territorial waters of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.

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