Germany reveals Nord Stream 2 plan
The Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline should proceed according to European Union law, Berlin’s foreign minister has said.
Germany’s new top diplomat, Annalena Baerbock, who once accused Russia of “blackmailing” Berlin to greenlight the gas link, has said that she and the country’s chancellor have reached an agreement on the project.
Baerbock of Germany’s Green party told Die Ziet on Thursday that herself and Chancellor Olaf Scholz had discussed the pipeline and that the pair reached a consensus.
“We have a shared position,” the diplomat reported. “It’s no secret that in the past we had different views on this issue. But as the chancellor has said, and I am now saying, the certification process should proceed on the basis of European law.”
However, the fate of Nord Stream 2 depends also on considerations regarding German energy security, Baerbock added.
The move comes despite the foreign minister’s long-held opposition to the project, who as recently as October accused Moscow of purposefully raising gas prices in Europe as a form of “blackmail” to force Germany to approve the underwater link.
Nord Stream 2, which will bring gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, was completed in September but has yet to begin operations due to a series of regulatory hurdles. Construction on the pipeline was completed despite strong opposition from the US, Poland, and Ukraine.
Kiev says that it stands to lose billions of dollars in transit fees when the project gets the green light, and in November, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba took credit for delaying the project’s approval, saying, “Nord Stream 2 should have been operating and earning money a long time ago, but the fact that it still does not work and we are fighting against it is the result of our common endeavors.”
Last week, however, Chancellor Scholz insisted that Nord Stream 2 is an apolitical project, saying, “The German authorities will decide this completely independent of politics. The process is moving along.” Officials have said that it will not begin pumping gas until it is approved by regulators, a process which may not be completed in the first half of next year.