The Russian gas pipeline is a “risk under the Baltic Sea”, warns the Minister of Economy
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project could be abandoned before it even comes online and should not have been built in the first place, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck told the Tagesthemen TV show on Tuesday.
Habeck was commenting on Berlin’s decision to punish Russia for recognizing the two breakaway Donbass republics as sovereign states. Nord Stream 2 was in the crosshairs of Kiev and Washington long before the continued escalation of tensions around Ukraine and on Tuesday Germany suspended its certification. Successive U.S. administrations have sought to shut down the project, saying it was political rather than economic in nature.
The minister, a fossil-skeptical pro-NATO Green Party member, argued that recent events had proven the US claim to be correct. He said the EU’s response to the situation should be coordinated with that of the United States.
He is “of paramount importance that Europe and the United States become one”, Habeck said, adding that neither side should “undermine sanctions” against Russia.
The undersea pipeline shouldn’t have been built in the first place, he said. He described it as a “risk group under the Baltic Sea” this hampers Germany’s desire to diversify its energy sources.
Nord Stream 2 has boosted Russia’s ability to deliver natural gas directly to Germany, bypassing land routes that pass through countries like Ukraine. Kiev, which receives billions of dollars a year in transit fees, has claimed Russia and Germany are jeopardizing its national security with the new route.
The United States, which has become a major producer of liquefied natural gas through its use of hydraulic fracturing technology, is seeking to secure a larger share of the Western European market for its product. Its economic interest is mixed with geopolitical objectives. Mark W. Menezes, a Trump administration energy official, dubbed America’s fuel “freedom molecules” as he pressured Germany to abandon the Russian pipeline in 2019.
Critics say Washington is using political coercion to sell its otherwise more expensive gas to Berlin. Commenting on Germany’s suspension of Nord Stream 2, Dmitry Medvedev, chairman of Russia’s National Security Council, predicted that Europeans would soon see their gas prices double.
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