Merkel ‘under pressure’ to put Nord Stream 2 on hold says expert
Multiple critics have urged Germany to pull the plug on the controversial development in the light of Russia’s build-up of troops on its borders with Ukraine. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba claims the total number of troops to the east and south of Ukraine will top 120,000 within days, warning Mr Putin’s men are armed with equipment that can effectively paralyse his country.
However, speaking yesterday, the German Chancellor made it clear she was not prepared to u-turn on the issue, irrespective of fierce opposition from among others, US President Joe Biden.
Mrs Merkel said: “We can see that the conflict here is much broader and focuses on the question of how much we want to support trade with Russia, primarily in the energy sector.
“Germany has decided in favour of building Nord Stream 2.
Angela Merkel has insisted Germany will press ahead with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline construction
US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris
“But this is a political struggle, which many view differently.”
She added: “I know that there is controversy about Nord Stream 2 and I know the opinion of many member states.
“But I would like to point out that the gas delivered through Nord Stream 2, which isn’t yet flowing, is no worse than the gas from Nord Stream 1, that which flows through Ukraine, and that which comes across Turkey from Russia.”
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Mrs Merkel further argued that Western Europe had always been reliant on buying energy from Russia, even at the height of the Cold War.
She added: “We have many conflicts with Russia that unfortunately make our relationship difficult.
“But despite that I’m always someone who says we must talk with one another.”
Mrs Merkel is due to stand down as Chancellor later this year – but Armin Laschet, the leader of her Christian Democrat Party (CDU), who was yesterday confirmed as its candidate to replace her in the top job, is likewise steadfastly committed to Nord Stream 2.
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Daniel Kawczynski MP is urging Boris Johnson to follow Joe Biden’s lead
Daniel Kawczynski tweeted on the subject yesterday
Mr Biden remains implacably opposed, with the US imposing sanctions on all companies working with Moscow on the project.
Speaking last week, Joseph Giordono-Scholz, spokesman for the US Embassy in Berlin, said: “It is a geopolitical project by Russia that threatens Europe’s energy security.
“It also threatens that of Ukraine and the Eastern NATO partners.”
Claiming the President’s view was “shared by some of our European partners and even by some serious voices in Germany”, he added: “We will continue to register any organisation that may be involved in any sanctioned activity.
Nord Stream 2 will run from Russia to Ukraine, bypassing the Baltic States, Ukraine and Poland
“We have made it clear that any company risks being penalised for participating in Nord Stream 2.”
Speaking to Express.co.uk last week, Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski said he had urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to follow Mr Biden’s lead in imposing similar sanctions.
He said: “Let me put it like this, the situation is like a tinderbox. The Germans are pouring petrol, and it could explode. And the United Kingdom’s government seems to be mute. That is wrong.
“I think the British Government’s lack of public challenging this project, through sanctions, which is what I’ve called for, is actually undermining Britain’s role on the continent of Europe with many of these countries.
CDU leader Armin Laschet is a staunch advocate of Nord Stream 2
“What we’re, what we’re hoping for beyond what we’re hoping for is that in September’s elections, the Greens who are currently polling 20 percent in the opinion polls in Germany, will become a partner with the CDU and the Greens will make it a condition on entering the coalition to say, you’ve got to stop this project.
“It’s likely to happen and what Britain needs to do now in advance of the elections is say we intend to join the American in imposing sanctions on any company involved in this project.”
Mr Kawczynski added: “This project is to drive a coach and horses through our mutual responsibilities as NATO partners to protect one another from a security perspective.
“This is a highly dangerous selfish act. The Germans were just putting untold pressure on the Baltic states and Ukraine, Poland and others.”