German and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkelin support for the nearly € 10 billion Nord Stream 2 energy project has been unwavering. Or so it was, at least until Sunday, when Merkel’s spokeswoman said the Federal Chancellor’s position was reflected in the Foreign Minister. Heiko Maasin opinion.
– I really hope that the Russians will not force us to change our attitude towards Nord Stream 2, Maas told Bild am Sonntag.
At this stage, it is only a matter of jostling, but at least it seems that Germany is trying to put serious pressure on Russia. The catalyst is the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Navalnyi is currently being treated and in a stable state in Germany, but a blow against him is something that Western countries cannot look through their fingers. Especially since the substance used in the poisoning is, according to German researchers, the novitoch neurotoxin, which is a military-level substance developed in Russia. The same substance was used by the ex-dual agent Sergei skripalin and the men who attempted the murder of this daughter in Britain, who, according to Britain, were part of the Russian military intelligence service.
In recent days, Merkel has been under pressure both from within her own party and from the opposition, which has been directly demanded to pit the pipeline project and send a strong message. To Vladimir Putin. Economic experts commented to Reuters that Germany could very well afford to abandon the pipeline project and would also welcome the United States, which sees excessive energy dependence on Russia as a security threat. The U.S. has tried to slow down and complicate the construction of the pipeline with sanctions, and succeeded when construction stalled last December.
– Our contractor Allseas was forced to suspend pipe-laying due to the U.S. threat of sanctions. We are thus forced to look for new solutions to install the rest of the pipeline. Nord Stream 2, like the companies supporting the project, is convinced that the commissioning of the pipeline as soon as possible is in the interests of European energy security, European consumers and EU competitiveness, as well as the achievement of climate goals. Minna Sundelin comments to Iltalehti.
He recalls that “the European Commission has described sanctions as a violation of international law”.
For example, a subsidiary of the Finnish energy company Fortum, the German Uniper, recently warned about the uncertainty surrounding the pipeline. Uniper has a tenth of the project, or about 950 million euros. Fortum currently owns 73.4 percent of the company. The majority owner of the pipeline is Russian Gazprom.
On the political side, companies do not take a stand.
– As the project manager of the commercial project, Nord Stream 2 AG cannot comment on political events, the company informs.
– Fortum considers Nord Stream 2 to be a purely commercial project and we will not participate in the related political debate, Fortum said in a statement to at least Suomen Kuvalehti and MTV.
In the fate of the pipeline, speculation can be either a real threat to Germany in the direction of Moscow or just a lever to try to put pressure on Russia to accept more constructive diplomacy, for example in Ukraine and Belarus.
94 percent of the nearly 2,500-kilometer pipeline from Russia to Germany in the Baltic Sea has been built. Possible additional sanctions by the US may not even stop it anymore, and even if Germany for some reason puts on the cloths, sheer economic pressure could take the last kilometers to the finish. Blocking the pipeline could cause huge lawsuits, according to Reuters sources.
Foreign Minister Maas was also aware of this in an interview published on Sunday and recalled that opponents of the pipeline project should keep the consequences in mind. He noted that more than 100 companies from 12 European countries are involved in the project and half of the companies are from Germany.
The pipeline had had time to be pulled in the Danish EEZ when construction was interrupted. The schedule for the completion of the pipeline is currently open. The cost estimate of EUR 9.5 billion is still valid.
“We are looking for a solution to complete the missing six percent of the pipeline, and we will announce our plans when the time comes,” Sundelin says.
According to Sundelin, work is currently underway at landing sites in Russia and Germany, and studies related to post-construction inspections are being carried out at sea.
The ex-Prime Minister, who previously consulted Nord Stream in Finland Paavo Lipponen told by phone that he would not comment on the matter to Iltalehti.